Difficulties with meditation

Updated: Jun 1

Some questions and answers for when meditation becomes difficult.


I am mindful but unhappy


Unhappiness is wanting to be happy and thinking that you have failed. Try to suspend your doubts and just be for a while.  Happiness is being grounded in the present moment.

  1. Fear of failure can paralyse you before you start.

  2. Don’t preconceive what success should look like.

  3. Success is enjoying what you do.

I’m losing my motivation, because the things that motivated be before suddenly seem less meaningful?


When you incorporate meditation into your life, your priorities start to shift. This can be uncomfortable for a while, because we are used to certainties. So you may feel less motivated at work because you no longer respond to thoughts goading you on.


Once you discover meditation, your motivation has to come from a different place. Not stress, worry or ambition, but pride, curiosity, caring, enjoyment, habit or something else. It's a work in progress.


I am too tired to meditate, I can’t get back to the peaceful place


Peaceful meditation does not work well when you are tired. Get some rest and relax, try again when you are feeling more awake.


Mindful meditation can work when you are tired, you can focus on the feeling of tiredness.


I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed


Try to meditate anyway. If you can get to the peaceful place, you will find that the relief is enormous because of the contrast between the peace and the stress. Just because you are stressed doesn’t mean you can’t tap into meditation.


If you find the stress is stopping you from meditating or being mindful, listen to a relaxation or a meditation podcast.


I am still worrying


It’s ok to worry. The trick is not to mind worrying. Just try to notice the pattern behind what is making you worry, and try to cultivate positive mental habits

  1. Don’t dwell on stagnation

  2. Learn to let go of blame, worry, fear

  3. Your life is not your ‘to do’ list

  4. Cultivate something you are proud of

  5. Be part of something you admire (join a cause or an organisation)

  6. Be gentle with failure

  7. Don’t get stuck in one way of thinking

  8. Take time for meaningful interaction

I am not making enough progress with meditation


Classic Indian texts like the Yoga Sutras present meditation as a peak experience, with further steps to continually strive for and new levels to achieve. I think it is healthier to think of meditation as a friend who is always there for you through your ups and downs.

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