What do you do when your meditation isn’t flowing as you wish?
Sometimes we feel disconnected. All these teachings and meditations sound good, great even; but they are out there separated from us.
First bit of advice: Never push for an experience, and never get caught up in a “should” mentality – “I should be feeling love! But I’m not! Therefore, I’m no good.” The aim is not to self-generate as a bad person.
So the first thing we have to do when the mind is not moving is to accept it. Rather than thinking “Oh no!”, we think “Oh yes! This is what I have to work with now, this is what is appearing.” Once we let go of the resistance, within that space of acceptance we just need to find our way back to our basic spiritual foundation. Rather than pushing forward, we can step back to find our way forward. You can try this if you like:
Disengage from the unhappy thoughts for a moment, enough time to allow yourself to relax a little. Follow your breath if it helps, or simply sit there in your heart. Then turn your attention to something that is generally guaranteed to put a smile on your face, such as your niece, or some kindness you have received. It doesn’t have to be much, something simple, just enough to shift your attention. You stop focusing on the things that are agitating your mind, so the natural peace of your mind can reassert itself.
No pushing to peace
If we stop shaking our mind, our mind will stop shaking. We don’t press our mind into peace; we just stop agitating our mind and it becomes peaceful. We can build more peace from there. No point wrestling with unhappy thoughts like a dog with a bone in order to sort them out, “I gotta sort this out! It’s getting in the way of my meditation!” No need to apply any opponents to our delusions just yet. We just relax back to some peace, however slight, and the rest of our meditation can take place in the space of a basically peaceful mind. Identifying with the peace, we can then apply the opponents later.
How do I meditate to get some feeling?
Someone who has been meditating for a long time but not enjoying it as much as she might asked me the other day how to meditate to get some feeling. This is what I suggested.
We need to start where we are, with our own experience, not pushing for a result that is somewhere outside of us. Start by getting into your heart and simply imagining there is some peace there. Find an inroad into that peace by connecting to a thought of gratitude and love that comes relatively easily to you, that works for you — like the last time you saw your dog, or the appreciation you feel for a friend. Then understand that the peace is your own Buddha nature, it is you, it is Dharma, and it is also not different to the peace of your Spiritual Guide, Buddha. Basking in the feeling of faith increases the peace even more, and on that basis you can spread out the feeling of gratitude or the feeling of love to more people, bringing them into its orbit.
Only once you have relaxed in this way, feeling in your heart the confidence that arises from your own experience, start your actual meditation.
If you like, while abiding in that space of refuge, do some blessed prayers as a way to purify the mind, increase your good karma, and receive even more inspiration for the meditation you want to do. It can help focus the mind too if you briefly generate the object of meditation before the prayers, and then recite the prayers with the implicit request to deepen and stabilize that particular realization.
I think this is where we need to start if we are not to be overwhelmed by appearances/distractions or identified with delusions and pain. There is more meditation advice along these lines here.
Our mind is on our side
Always remember: Your mind is on your side. Happiness arises naturally by letting go and abiding. We don’t have to force happy thoughts back into our head or push our mind for an experience of peace; we just need to let go of the thoughts that are shaking our mind.
Imagine getting out of a perfectly functioning Ferrari to push it along the highway. Crazy, right? But no crazier than trying to push your mind when it is already perfectly capable of moving itself.
So, in summary, we don’t identify with ourselves as being blocked, negative, not able to meditate. That’s wasted time. Our mind is on our side, and even the slightest peace indicates its nature and potential for lasting peace, indeed permanent bliss. So it indicates our unbelievable potential, our Buddha nature. We can always go back to basics and identify with our Buddha nature. If we connect to our potential, we can feel that we are fortunate, and our peace will increase. If we allow ourselves to just relax into the nature of our mind, sooner or later this peace expands, takes on a life of its own, is pervaded by blessings; and we will feel that we can meditate on anything.
More about our Buddha nature and acceptance in the next article. Meanwhile, your comments and shared experience of overcoming obstacles in meditation are very appreciated.
Making it a habit first thing in the morning.
Bring a pot of tea to your meditation area and enjoy your first cuppa of the day with the Buddhas, offering it to them.
Yeah, i love doing that!
What about lack of energy?
The obstacle is not always lack of technique, sometimes it is not tiredeness.
i feel meditation is an activity that demans big amount of energy
Certainly, until we get used to it, it demands a lot of energy, but we don’t want to push at it, more follow the advice to have a light joyful mind like a child at play.
Wonderful ! just now when I prepare my review on “How to Understand the Mind.” Thank you very much.
Glad it’s helpful.
Thank you, it is really good article. Cleared lots of doubts on the practice of meditation and from now on I can really make my meditations more meaningful.
That’s wonderful to hear 🙂
Last night at GP we were reminded that Geshela stresses patience as an antidote for anger and discouragement, two distractions I find interfere with my practice. Thank you, Luna, for the gentle reinforcement.
Yes, you are not alone!
Thank you Luna so helpful … amazing how we complicate things with our mind instead of remembering our mind is the answer to any problem as it is the creator !!! Again your timing with the topic selection of your writing is priceless 👍🏼
nice way of putting it, thankyou.
Thanks so much for these excellent instructions. In the middle of a big work project, my mind has been like a caged pit bull for 2 days now and I didn’t even realize it. Your advice this morning allowed me to set that dog free and I’ve reconnected with bliss. This change in my mind will impact many others today so again, thank you skillful teacher.
so good to hear you 🙂 x Hope to see you soon.
So wonderful to read this now, this is a good reminder to just settle in and acknowledge that peaceful space….Thanks.
Extremely helpful, thank you.
🙂 glad it is.
aww, thanks Carol 🙂 x
as always, wonderfully practical and inspiring! Thank you.
aww, thanks Carol 🙂 x
Your post was very timely for me, thank you. I am struggling with an issue that feels as if “I need to think about it to solve it.” The result is my mind is more agitated. No matter how many times I hear that an agitated mind is not the place to begin to heal or solve anything, it still seems logical. Your post to find a path to a peaceful mind was lovely reminder.
I’m glad to hear it. Grappling with our problems rather than stepping back to rely upon peace and space never improves things. It’s like trying to solve the problem with the same mind that created it.