Overcoming The 2 Biggest Obstacles in Meditation

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In my article about My Return to Meditation, I mentioned that this time round I was having a major challenge when it came to finding the energy to keep awake during my meditations.

I believe that having low energy also goes hand in hand with the busy modern western lifestyle and the other major obstacle that comes with that – lack of time.

The modern western lifestyle is one where we’re juggling with many big bulky balls which include career responsibilities, family needs, social obligations etc, and often these balls get dropped, sometimes they just fall awkwardly and whack you in your head, and you’re left with needing to stop, pick up these balls and start again.

So let me go over the two major challenges that I’m facing – which incidentally are the most common challenges that everyone faces at some time in their meditation journey.

Energy

So I covered this when I was writing about My Return to Meditation.  I mentioned that I had started to take supplements and followed an exercise routine so that I could be physically capable of meditating.  In addition I’ve been more particular about the foods I eat and avoid.

More importantly, I managed to take a couple of weeks off over the Christmas and New Year period, really for the purpose of rest an refreshing.

From experience, I’ve had lack of energy when I’m burnt out and especially towards the end of the year.  2011 was especially full on for me – moving house, new role at my company, sister’s wedding and a lot of travel.

All of this takes a lot out of an individual, and I’m no different.

Now if you read back to my article on energetics unveiled, I mentioned that energy is at the core of everything, and to take this even further, the energy that we need to sustain us can come from a few different sources, and it would be wise not to rely just on one source.  The main sources of energy are as follows:

  • Nutrition – wholesome food, drink, supplements
  • Exercise – cardio, muscle resistance and toning activity
  • Recovery – sleep, meditation, holidays and vacations
  • Live sources – people, pets, plants
  • Empowering Locations – sacred sites, places of worship, pure natural environments
  • Positive Emotions – happiness, inspiration, enthusiasm

By the same token, it is just as important to understand that the outflow of energy happens for a number of reasons, and it is the mirror image of the sources that provide energy – this is what can cause you to be drained:

  • Anti-nutrition – highly processed food and drinks
  • Apathy and lethargy – not taking the effort to keep physically fit, habitual procrastination
  • Excess – burn out and over-worked
  • Psychic Vampires – negative people wanting to dump their issues on you, leaving you drained and tired
  • Disempowering Locations – places with a high negative charge, sickness and grief
  • Negative Emotions – anger, fear, guilt

The easiest thing to do is avoid negatives, and increase the positives, and that should by all means increase your personal flow of energy.

Easy right?  Well yes, if you’ve got the self-discipline of a jedi knight.

For the rest of us, we get tempted to eat junk food, get angry, over work, skip exercise etc.  We’re all human after all.  Now if this happens habitually, that’s where the problem lies.  A lot of us have developed bad habits, and this is where the pain comes into it, because we’re finding excuses to hold onto our bad habits because of the short term gain.

It’s not easy, but what I’ve found is that we can start with one or two things that supply energy that interest me or that I find easy – and as my energy increases, it’s then easy to adopt another source, and abandon a negative one.  Over time, it’s easier and easier to adopt more things, because your energy is getting stronger, and the more energy you have, the easier it is to get even more.

But be aware – the opposite is also true.  When your energy is low, it’s easy to succumb to all the temptations of doing things which drain your energy, and you can be on the verge of a downward spiral faster than you know it.

Time

Sooner or later, increasing your energy will involve things that take a reallocation of your time.  You only have 24 hours a day, and you use it – every day.  You allocate that time in the day to whatever it is you are doing.

This isn’t really about time management – this is actually about dropping something that drains you and replacing it with something that energises you.

It’s not about taking extra time to do go for a body pump class – but it is about dropping the time you sit on the couch and watch TV shows that don’t do anything for you, and using that time to grab your ipod and go for a walk.

It’s not about taking extra time to shop in the health food shop – but it is about dropping the time your shopping for frozen deserts and instead shopping for for fresh juicy fruit.

It’s not about taking the extra time to go on a yoga retreat – but it is about dropping the weekly friday night pub crawl and taking time out to meditate.

The point I’m making here is that your life is already full, you’ll never find 15 minutes spare to meditate, and neither will I.  What needs to be done is to figure out what activity you can drop, and replace with something that will enrich you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

And then keep doing it.

Again, it’s easy if you’ve got the self-discipline of a jedi knight, but be kind to yourself.  If you slip, acknowledge it, recommit, and move on.  There’s nothing worse than the feeling of regret, and as human beings, we’re always doing the best we can, with what we have, at that particular point in time, and if you ever feel a sense of regret or guilt, I strongly encourage that you read my article on the 4 Spiritual Principles, which covers this more in depth.

If you do make a habit of slipping, at the same thing, every single time – perhaps it’s too much of an effort.  Concentrate on doing something that’s easier for you, and then, try changing the habit again.

It’s all about energy, so every bit of time you spend in building your energy is an investment in you.

In writing this article, I’ve actually given myself the answers that I’ve been seeking about how I can actually get back into the groove with meditation – now I have the answers, the next step for me is to follow through and act on what I’ve learnt.

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