Sometimes sitting in meditation just sucks. There. I said it.

People often regale us the stories of blissful, releasing, or enlightening experiences they have. Those times happen, but they are few and far between. My typical practice often starts with the habitual excitement of brushing my teeth, then moves through the whirring of my mind making mental to do lists, at some point (very) briefly passing through a transient state of calm and peace. 

There are other times when, in my practice, some unpleasant frustration, anger, or depression grips my mind and body in a deathlock. Sometimes my practice includes long stretches of this. I might be ruminating over and over again about a challenging friend, family member, or co-worker. I might be frightened about some new job or task I’m learning. Or some long-buried grief or wound suddenly arises like it happened yesterday.

None of these things that often happen on the cushion is pleasant. But here’s what else I know — when I’ve been able to sit with the unpleasant feelings and treat them as a messenger, I am in for a big growth spurt. Those clamoring voices demanding attention always teach me something about myself, about what I need, about how to handle a situation. Often sitting with these things for days, or even weeks, will yield some of my best and most difficult decisions and tough conversations.

If you’re just starting meditation, some of these hard feelings, memories, or thoughts may surface for you. That’s OK. Let them surface. Attend to them. Give these thoughts and feelings attention and try to welcome them as messengers, because I guarantee you they have something to teach you. For anyone interested in tip toeing into meditation, I share weekly videos with short practices every Monday on Facebook. #MindfulMonday

If the feelings and thoughts that come up become overwhelming, remember that you don’t have to feel all the things all at once. Take your time. Do what feels useful to you. If you need extra support, reach out to trusted support people.

We’re in this together.


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