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?

Christine Dominguez is the Media Coordinator at Hay House Australia with an interest in health, wellbeing, psychology and metaphysics. Thank you to Wendy Harrison for today’s blog topic!

13 Responses to “Why Can’t I Meditate?”
  1. Frank says:

    For me the hardest part of was the expectation of what meditation SHOULD be. People will tell you that when they go into meditations they meet these wonderful guides… see beautiful fields of color…. meet up with loved ones who had passed…. have all these overwhelming feelings of love.

    The biggest issue as a beginniner to meditation is that you compare yourself and EXPECT you are going to have similar experiences. What this unfortunately does is forces you to start “thinking” during meditation… thinking about what you should be seeing… when the real key to meditation is to not think!

    It was not until I stopped thinking… and visualised an on/off switch in my head… that turned off my thoughts…. that I started having some of these experiences… a little bit at a time. Now I can literally visulalise flicking that switch off in my head and almost immediately stop thinking about the thoughts of the day… but it takes time and patience.

    The key for me is breathing… concentrate on deep breaths in through the nose… holding and then releasing through the mouth. I breath in positive white light and exhale negative issues on my mind. After a few minutes of “releasing” what is bothering me and asking my angels in my mind… to take my negative thoughts away…. I flick that switch off…. and commence my journey in my meditation.

    So the main thing for me… is to not compare yourself… and that if nothing happens… that’s the point of it!! It means you are on your way to connecting.

    • hayhouseoz says:

      Totally agree with you Frank. I think I had that expectation that I should be seeing colourful images and that I should be able to see myself as a different person. But when I let go, stopped thinking altogether, only then was I able to commence my journey into meditation. Thanks for your response to my blog. Would love to send you a Doreen gift! Christine x

  2. Wendy Harrison - Angel Intuitive, Reiki Master, Health Practitoner and 'Owner of a chatty mind' says:

    ~ Constant inner peace and serenity can be yours. Take the first step today – Meditate ~

    Meditation need not be about a formal process of emptying ones mind of all thoughts…but also a practice of thinking about some-‘thing’ carefully and calmly for an extended period of time.

    If you can count sheep to fall to sleep – then you’re already meditating!
    This nighttime practice we were taught as children is a very simple form of Concentrative Meditation and illustrates meditation as a skill we may already know and practice – but have not clearly recognized as Meditation. Concentrative Meditation focuses the attention on the breath, an image, or a sound (mantra), in order to still the mind. For those seeking spiritual enlightenment this form of meditation may allow a greater awareness and clarity to emerge.
    It’s as effortless as focusing the mind on the continuous rhythm of inhalation and exhalation, your steps as you walk, the strokes as you swim, or any other repetitive activity provides a natural object of meditation. Your mind will become absorbed in the rhythm of the activity and as a result the mind becomes more tranquil and aware.

    Is your inner pulse skipping a beat and jumping from here to there? Is there a stream of distracting chatter in your head scattering your thoughts making it hard to concentrate? Can’t meditate? I’m pleased to announce – Mindfulness Meditation is for you!
    Mindfulness Meditation involves opening the attention to become aware of the continuously passing parade of sensations and feelings, images, thoughts, sounds, smells, and so forth without becoming involved in thinking about them. If we are honest with ourselves, we will recognize there have been times in our lives when we’ve just ‘tuned-out’ while still being aware of our surroundings! Welcome to Mindfulness Meditation. During those moments we are simply witnesses to whatever goes through the mind, not reacting or becoming involved with thoughts, memories, worries, or images. This helps to gain a more calm, clear, and non-reactive state of mind.

    Meditation is amazing – and we are all, already doing it. When we daydream, when we chill out listening to music, when we appraise a piece of furniture or artwork and our focus is keen and intent. When nothing else exists but the kiss or caress we share with a lover. Be aware of what is ‘working’ for you when it comes to peace, contentment and a feeling of overall personal wellbeing. The meditation that gives you immediate joy or continuous joy is the best meditation for you. Recognizing your innate meditative practices may lead to a more formalized practice,

    What is the ultimate goal of meditation? Whether we meditate individually or collectively, there is one thing we absolutely must do: we have to meditate consciously. Make meditation a daily practice, and it will soon turn into a habit.

    ~ There is meditation with thoughts, and there is meditation without thoughts ~

    • hayhouseoz says:

      Wow, that’s why I find running and swimming so relaxing; focusing the mind on the continuous rhythm of inhalation and exhalation is a kind of meditation… will make it more of a daily habit! Thanks for sharing again, Wendy! Christine x

  3. Ben Ormonde says:

    I couldn’t imagine life without meditation. When people start meditating, it is something that you fit into your day. Now it has become so critical to my feeling of wellbeing, that my day now fits around my meditation.
    I am currently using K…elly Howell’s “Brainsync” meditations. In particular I use the theta brain wave ones which make the mind receptive for affirmations and creating my day and my world. I so love seeing the pulsating indigo in the third eye. So pretty to focus on.

  4. Katren Gardner says:

    Meditation, I love it, but unfortunately whilst meditating I have found myself unable to come out of the meditation – without the meditation instructor giving me any explanation – the last time being during the fantastic conference on Aug21-22 when Brian Weiss took us through a mediation for past lives, unfortunately the birthing process which was totally and unbelievably traumatic for me – – I was lucky to have a great guy next to me who was into the tapping therapy and I came out of it – can anyone explain to me why one stays in a mediation which is controlled by someone who knows about it and manages to get you back to reality but does not explain it – Brian Weiss was fantastic but I doubt that he realises that with over 1,000 people in the room there may be many people who reacted like I did – where was the help and what is the explanation – great conference but a totally unnerving experience – there should be AI’s or people around who can help us when we go through such a torrid time. I love to mete and am an AI myself and would be there and comforting the person until they ere over the shock – something to look into when you have such a large group deeply into meditation – we need to know why – I love to meitate but the group scenario without help and explanation is really scary and I am an earth angel – please explain – please ensure that no one goes through what I did without support. Love everything that involves the spiritual and love your conferences but there needs to be more people around to help – I literally had to walk away after going through my birth experience, doesn’t happen to everybody – but please explain – love and light to all, Katren

    • hayhouseoz says:

      Thanks for your thoughts on meditation Katren. I know that going through regression can be particularly traumatic for people. Your lucky in a sense that you were able to regress through time – something that not everyone gets to experience especially in a large group situation. May I suggest that you talk to a Hay House volunteer prior to one of our meditation classes next time to see if they are able to stay near you when you meditate. Hope this helps. Can I also suggest Brian Weiss’ book, Mirrors of Time, which contains frequently asked questions about the nature of past life regression. Christine x

      • Katren Gardner says:

        Thanks Christine, I will take the opportunity of buying this book – interestingly the difficulty seems only to occur when going through guided meditations, at home, the beach – wherever I am at the time I can meditate easily and my blue angel is always there with me as well as my dad who passed on many years ago. This I know as I feel their presence with me and they pass messages to me at any time even when not in a meditative state. When in a meditative state I see the most beautiful indigo colour and my body feels as though it is dancing with the joy of the peace within, yet afterwards the true joy of being and loving and sharing with all that I come across stays with me and it is extremely interesting that people are drawn to me to talk or whatever and then I give them a hug and it is joyous to see their faces light up because someone cared. Love and light to all of you at Hay House – you all are earth angels and we appreciate all that you do for us xoxox Katren

  5. I had an epiphany yesterday! It had to do with meditation. And then I read this blog. I love the way that works….

    Over the past few months I have been working a tremendous amount of hours on my business. It is a labour of love albeit a demanding one. During this time, I have have had periods of burn out. During these times, a very LOUD voice comes through saying, “Wendy, you need to meditate”. Eventually the voice just says, “meditate, meditate, meditate!”. It has taken me a few months to get there because my conscious mind keeps telling me, “keep going just a little bit longer, you can meditate later! You’re almost there!” But the fact is, although in the grand scheme of things, I am almost ready to officially launch, my lack of taking time out is actually creating a situation that my effectiveness is far less than if I just stop and meditate.

    My epiphany was this: my business came from a place of spirituality and it is important to me to keep the feel of spirituality within it. Without meditation, I have been losing connection with my spirituality and have only connected with my conciousness which is not always the best source for direction and information. Moral of the story…. get back to meditation immediately.

    So that is what I did. First thing this morning, I put in my earphones and meditated. Now I am starting my day relaxed and clear. Ahhhhhhhh. Note to self…… don’t forget to meditate again!!!

    • hayhouseoz says:

      I love how you see meditation as a way to take care of yourself. I used to think it was hard work and that you had to ‘try’ to meditate, but if you come from a place where you want to simply relax and connect with your spiritual side, it becomes effortless. Thanks Wendy for sharing! Christine x

  6. Hi Christine!

    As you know, we love meditation and love to teach meditation! It is one of our most popular workshops, the Meditation and Meet Your Guides Workshops – our last one of the year is held in QLD, the 30-31st October.

    In our experience, the most common cause of failure with individuals new to meditation is a busy-noisy mind, for sure. But, it is also worthwhile to go over and restate the basics for ease with meditation:

    For beginners, commit to a minimum of 2 weeks of daily meditation for at least 15 minutes to start. You can always increase the time to as much as an hour or more, but it is important, when developing any new habit to be consistent. Choose a time and a place that has a comfortable temperature and choose comfortable clothing. You must determine through trial and error, which YOU prefer – to sit or lie down while meditating. There are no rules except what works for you. You are aiming for deep relaxation, stillness, and relaxing every part of your body.

    Get in a quiet, uninterrupted space. Remove all distractions. You may have to let others know this is your meditation time. You may need ear plugs, or earphones and some suitable background music. Choose music that is suitable for tai chi, yoga, massage, reiki, or relaxation. If you use background music, play it softly enough to be easily ignored.

    Get a journal or pen and paper to write down your experiences with meditation. Record all experiences, wanted and unwanted – everything you heard, saw, and felt. It is good practice and helps you find your areas for improvement and to track your progress.

    Forget about agendas and being determined ‘to do something’ or ‘see something’ in meditation. Meditation can never be forced – it must be ALLOWED. Whatever happens, happens! Better yet, expect to have no expectations in meditation.

    Beginners can just listen to their breathing while simultaneously eliminating any mind chatter. If it helps, silently count the number of breaths in and out or make them an equal number in and out. Most experienced meditators aim for complete mental silence, while beginners begin with special breathing patterns and techniques, like tense a part of the body first then relax it. Regardless, physical and mental stillness is the goal – to achieve the oneness, the emptiness and the nothingness. Even thoughts about noticing your thoughts are to be avoided. If it helps, picture yourself meditating while you meditate in your mind’s eye; psychologists call that mental “dissociation.”

    With practice, all of these steps and methods become second-nature and easy. Ultimately, one can learn to see Spirit and astrally travel. But, the basics are still necessary. The Connect with Spirit Meditation Method CD, Discover Your True Journey, is simple and easily goes over these and other techniques to achieve deep relaxation and meditation. You can order your copy from our website or get it instantly as a digital download from iTunes.

    Happy meditating everyone!

    K & Dr. Michael

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