Why Can’t I Meditate?
I would have never given meditation a second thought had it not been for some of my favourite authors who swear by meditation as a way to quieten the mind and let go of the ego, such as Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra.
Before I was introduced to their work, the idea of meditation mainly conjured up images of a sitting in a lotus position and having nothing but a ‘blank mind.’ I never knew that mediation could come in all shapes and forms and can have wonderful health benefits, too. It’s said to decrease tension in the body, increase blood flow and build a sense of inner peace and calmness that lasts for hours.
I have to admit, though, my first meditation experience was like being in a cave: it’s nothing but pitch black, bare and the more you want to see the light, the more it seems to elude you. Unlike some of the other people in the same meditation class at the time who recall vividly seeing unicorns, fairies and animals, I felt like I was doing something wrong.
Turns out, however, the more you force yourself to ‘see’ something, the more you increase your chances of seeing, or experiencing, well, nothing. This is because meditation only works when you are in relaxed state of mind, says Deepak Chopra. Meditation, he says, “is the natual tendency of your mind when you are doing nothing. It is when your mind settles down to its natural silence.”
“…the more you force yourself to ‘see’ something, the more you increase your chances of seeing, or experiencing, well, nothing.”
And that is where I think many of us go wrong: we can’t settle our minds down. If we’re not thinking of what we want for the future, or what happened in the past, we’re making judgments or questioning the the present moment – Why can’t I meditate? How come I can’t see a thing? Why isn’t it this “full-blown” experience my friend says it’s going to be? Maybe I should think of an image and maybe it’ll bring about something?
While there are many ways for meditation and bringing the mind to ‘stillness’, one technique I particularly like is one Doreen Virtue advises – to ask your angels for help during meditation. By asking them to remove what is bothering and stressing you, she says, they can help release negativity and thoughts that constantly grapple in your mind. “Visualise that you’re letting go and allowing yourself to be supported,” she says.
These days I can say meditation for me comes a bit more naturally. I don’t force anything and I don’t wonder about what I’m going to see. While I still feel I can deepen my meditation experiences, I’m quite happy I’ve been able to see purple swirls that flow from my third eye.
What do you think? What is meditation like for you? What techniques do you use to quieten the mind? What advice can you give to non-meditators? Do we even have to ‘see’ anything to enjoy meditation?