Meditation Sucks…Well Mostly the Monkey Mind

For about a decade I have practiced meditation on and off…sometimes, mostly off.

Science has proven the many benefits it offers those who practice. You can read about it in reputable places like Forbes.com. Many of my mentors cannot stop raving about how it has changed their lives. So I keep trying…but it sucks.

Today I sat and meditated for 10 minutes. The whole time I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin, like I had to jump up and move or else I’d go crazy. Well, I didn’t go crazy I just stayed still and breathed. I’ve never had this experience before and I don’t really want to have it again but I KNOW I should keep trying.

When am I going to get good at this?

Most of my meditation experiences have been somewhat pleasant. I typically do feel more relaxed even if my monkey mind keeps wigging out of control. I want to get to that place where my mentors are…where they actually start to feel the benefits. I’m not sure I’ve ever been there before and its probably because I am not consistent.

Something always comes up to break my pattern, and there goes my monkey mind again. Or whenever I think I should meditate, the kids are fighting and I need to make dinner. I forget, or worse I get lazy. There are 101 reasons why I don’t meditate and there are 1,001 reasons why I should but I think my resistance boils down to this:

Meditation is not a one-time thing you do and then you’re done. It’s a process. Just like writing.

I’ve never been a person who likes process. I’m impatient. Don’t bog me down with the details…let’s just get to it. But I think it goes deeper than that: I get caught up in my experiences during mediation, or in how good or not good my writing is, rather than learning from the process itself. This one little shift in thinking about it is a monumental task. It’s herculean! Because we ALL struggle with it.

We just want the benefits but the reality is: the benefits are experienced IN THE PROCESS.

When I didn’t succumb to my need to jump out of my skin today during meditation but I continued to breathe…that was a benefit and I didn’t even realize it! My monkey mind was quieted, if even for a split second. I recently found a really cool app that gives you a two-week mindfulness meditation training. It’s called 10% Happier. Try it. As I’m writing this something occurred to me, I have forgotten about my mantra for 2016: Show up, do the work, don’t quit.

It is time to apply this to meditation. Get ready monkey.

5 Comments

  1. Ed

    It’s important to remember you are not alone in this, I’m in process too. In fact so are your mentors….. We will never arrive, life was meant to be lived.

    Reply
    1. Dana Leipold (Post author)

      You are so right. I forget ALL THE TIME that life is a process. I have to be constantly reminded. Stupid monkey mind!

      Reply
      1. Ed

        Oh and your not blowing it…. I think is important to look for the joy in the process. We spend so much of our time either worrying about the future or regretting our past. The joy is in The moment. That s why it is so important to practice being still. I love your posts, keep writing.

        Reply
  2. Blake Sinclair

    Dana,

    I completely understand where you are coming from. I have always had a tough time with meditation. There are thousands of meditation practices out there. Some will be better than others for a particular person. After my research into various meditation practices, I have come to realize that there are different meditation practices for different needs depending on where we are in our awakening process. The important thing is to develop habit of meditation. Do it everyday at the same time. In the beginning, it might be helpful to get a meditation CD to help guide your mind to relax. Wayne Dyer’s I AM meditation CD could be quite helpful. He talks about the I AM manifestations. The music has the secret name of God ( I Am that I AM) weaved into it in the vibrational level. It’s about 20 minutes and is quite helpful. However, listening to a CD is only a training wheel for meditation. Eventually one should evolve beyond any guided imagery or music.
    Vipassana Meditation technique is one of the easiest to learn but extremely powerful once mastered. Buddha has been said to have reached enlightenment with this technique which he originated. You can learn it at the Berkeley Shambhala center. One of my spiritual Gurus does this type of practice as well and has a beautiful and easy video to follow on YouTube. Type Peter Mt. Shasta Vipassana meditation. There is also a 10 day training program that is a little different that you could do at a meditation retreat. Payment is not mandatory; they only ask for a donation. I do Vipassana in the evening and when I am out and about because you could practically do it any where and any time. I write about the basics to meditation in my books but more so in my latest book, Beyond Imagination. In my book, I unveil a glimpse a my meditation practice called U.U.M.M. ( United Universal Meditation Method). It is an extremely powerful system for enlightenment and connecting with the Divine Realm. I do teach 2 simplified versions of my methods in my book that is easy to follow. It utilizes breathing, visualization and affirmations. Don’t give up because you may not have found the right system for yourself. Once you have experience bliss, harmony and oneness with the Universe, your life will never be the same ever again. Now I can’t imagine how I could even function without it. It is the most important and most powerful tool of change and evolution and awakening of our soul. I wish you success in your meditation practice.

    Reply
    1. Dana Leipold (Post author)

      Hi Blake!

      Thanks for the information about the Vipassana Meditation. I’ll have to check that one out. The kind I’ve been doing is Mindfulness Meditation taught by Joseph Goldstein, heralded as one of the greatest American meditation teachers. He is a Buddhist, which is something I’m also exploring right now. Buddhism appeals to me because it is not couched in a lot of dogma and it encourages the individual to ask lots of questions on the journey to finding what spiritual path works for that individual.

      I will be taking a look at your book when I get the chance!

      Peace, love, and writing!
      Dana

      Reply

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