Real meditation is not all that easy as a lot of people make it out to be. For one, what meditation really is and what the outcomes should be, vary according to their convenience or lack of knowledge. Or more likely a disturbing combination of both. Second, no one wants to tell you how you can receive no benefit at all from meditation, if you don’t focus on some important aspects.
It turns out that state of meditation is very subtle and there are a lot more ways in which you could fail at meditation than being successful. And you’ll be surprised at most of our suggestions.
1. Concentration and Thinking
This one is sure to annoy the highly analytical minds, for what bad can come from concentration or thinking? In meditation parlance, we’re talking about a level of consciousness higher than the cognitive plane, something that we want to rise higher and go beyond. And so, it doesn’t help if we’re lost in our concentration or thoughts. We need to rise above it to a realm where no thoughts exist. The state of meditation itself is a higher state of awareness and we will fail if we’re continually stuck at lower states. This, of course, does not mean concentration or thinking is bad or not essential, only that meditation is on a higher plane of awareness than them.
You can succeed at meditation by letting go and surrendering to the power inside you – by allowing it to lift you to this higher plane. You actually get in the way when you try to concentrate or cannot stop thinking during your meditation.
2. Timing Your Meditation
Nearly all of us do this at one time or another. In reality, this hurts more than it helps. Meditation is driven by a surreal experience that is beyond time. By making mental notes about the duration of time for which we want to meditate or being too strict about when to do it, we’re forcing ourselves to be bound mentally to the concept.
Develop a strong inner desire to meditate and then let yourself be free and relaxed – you’ll find that meditation automatically happens. And just in case, you lose track of time as you get deeper into your meditative state, don’t worry, all other things will work out. Because nothing can go wrong when you’re completely one with Nature.
3. Being Superficial
Many of us merely touch the surface during some of our meditation sessions. That’s because our attention is distracted or we do this as a chore. Instead, if we put our heart into it and surrender to the inner energy inside us, we discover the depths of our inner self.
Treasure your meditation each time you do it. Treat it like a meal that satisfies you, but at a spiritual level. Relish it and enjoy the experience.
4. No Belief in the Divine
If we ever have doubts about the existence of the all-pervading power, then real meditation is impossible. Purely relaxation driven meditation with no acknowledgment or respect for the higher power isn’t meditation at all. You may as well have a nice nap instead.
5. Short Term Focus
Think carefully about your goals for meditation and be prepared for a lifestyle change and a lifetime commitment. Meditation is a marathon you want to run, slowly but steadily. Otherwise, it may just end up being a fashion or fad.
6. Prioritizing Knowledge Over Experience
A classical trap that a lot of people fall into is drawing satisfaction from knowing a lot about spirituality and meditation and therefore feeling they’ve achieved a lot. Even as a meditation practitioner, it does not matter how much you learn or know, only how deep your experience is. The experience must be strong enough to bring about positive changes in you.
7. Making Meditation A Ritual
If you’re moving from day to day, merely spending the typical 15 or 20 minutes for your meditation and checking it off on your list of To Dos, then you’re likely not getting much out of it. Meditation needs to be done with complete attention and dynamically adjusted to the outcomes and the progress you’re making. It has to be driven by your experience.
8. The Infamous Ego
Starting with notions like “I’m an accomplished meditator”, there are several vicious traps in our head that can derail us from getting the true meditation experience. The challenge with any real form of meditation that is linked closely with personality traits and characteristics is that you can’t get away with meditation without focusing on self-improvement holistically. The lack of humility interferes with the quality of your experience. Vice versa, a poor experience of meditation does very little to help you in spiritual self-improvement.
The proven technique is to spend a few minutes at the start of each meditation sitting trying to humble yourself down and surrender to the powerful force inside you. You’ll need to leave your accomplishments, worldly identities and anything else that makes you feel important at the doorstep and set it aside before you sit down for meditation.
A surprisingly large number of us rarely realize how much difficulty we have in letting go and moving past incidents and grudges against people. Many times, it’s so subtle that we don’t even realize it. We even talk to others about forgiveness being an important trait, yet, when it comes to us, deep down, we may find that we’re still holding a grudge or feeling of disenchantment about something or someone.
The golden technique is to just let it go and be aware of our inability to forgive every moment of our waking time. And it’s not just people, it can be past incidents, memories, unfulfilled desires, and ambitions or that nagging feeling that’s disturbing us and we can’t figure out why.
10. No Change in Your Personality
The ultimate test of whether meditation really works is the extent to which it influences our character and makes each of us a better human being. We should begin to see positive changes within us. The before and after versions of ourselves need to show a marked difference from each other.
The best strategy is to tie our progress entirely to the positive change in our behaviors and not be under any illusion that we’re succeeding with our meditation attempts otherwise.