Meditation mistakes that increase our suffering
We are not perfect. I personally, made many mistakes when learning to meditate. It’s like learning to fly drones. You become better from all the crashes. No matter how good you are, you will still crash your drones time to time. Just get over your emotional hurdle and continue your practice of meditation.
#1 – Mental exercise with shut eyes
Common mistake on meditation is closing eyes but continue mental exercises. Just because your eyes are closed and in sitting pose, doesn’t mean you are meditating. Many mis-information or dis-information instruct people to close eyes but continue to do some mental activities like counting breaths, visualizing, chanting, singing, and all sorts of tasks keeping your mind busy.
The golden key for meditation is to remove the driver who have access to the wheel and pedals. Once the driver removed, you put the driver into the passenger seat. So, the driver become an observer without means to react to the road condition.
Whatever bubbles out of our sub-conscious mind, you only observe the reality as it is. Zero mental tasks. You only observe your breath as it is. No manipulation, control or any kind. There are constant train of thoughts. You are standing on the railway or metro platform. Do not get into the train. Do not sit in the train. Only observing trains passing by. You are only a spectator with modern day gaming term. No matter what bubbles up! You maintain your equanimity.
#2 – It’s not instant noodle
Common mistake is meditation timing. Remember that it’s not instant noodle. Meditation is not something you get it done in 5 or 10 minutes. Oh, I’m done. Let me do another task. I’m busy. Let me do my next task. Because I finished meditation, good luck should happen to me.
Each meditation session should be minimum 20 minutes. Not over 60 minutes. Two session per days. It’s like baking potato. If you are constantly taking out your food at 10 minutes and not following the recipe and instruction. Your food is never cooked properly. Meditation is the complete opposite of instant gratification, so should be 45 to 60 minutes long. Our mind need time to settle.
#3 – It is falling asleep
It is falling asleep. Many people simply lack sleep from chronic sensory overloading and fatigue. So, when they try to meditate, they fall asleep quickly. You only meditate when you are fully charged and have had plenty of sleep or nap first. It’s like you don’t go to work sleepy. If you always go to work sleepy, you will get fired quickly.
#4 – Lack of iron will and discipline
It is agitation of body. During your 60 minutes. You are constantly moving. Scratching. Adjusting. Getting up to get water. Getting up to get rid of your stress. It’s one posture for the entire 60 minutes. It’s not day dreaming on the beach, and you can do whatever you want.
Meditation require one strong determination. Iron will and iron discipline. You train to become strong not meditate to get high. Whatever the sensation such as numbness, stiffness, neck pain, shoulder pain, sweating, heat…etc, you only observe the sensation and refrain from reaction. Always maintain your equanimity until the last second.
#5 – Dependency on group meditation
It is dependency on meditation centre and group meditation. There are certain people not able to meditate on their own. They need the group environment to do it. The benefit is minimal if you aren’t able to practice it daily on your own by yourself. We can’t always have access to centre and group support.
It’s really about faith in yourself. Confidence in yourself. You need a powerful will on your own. No matter what the difficulty maybe, you are taking 1 hour off to observe your breath totally on your own. Seven times per week. One powerful independent mind.
It’s natural to make mistakes. It’s okay to take a break. But never should you give up on your own meditation training. There is no “I can’t.” It’s always “I can do it.