I’ve Been Meditating for 4+ Years – Here are 5 Mistakes I Made that You can Avoid

If you don’t meditate, you are missing out!

You’re missing the elevated control you will have over your mind.

Without it, you are at the whim of the world and its temptations. Meditation enables one to be conscious of their thoughts, feelings, and actions. The alternative, unconsciousness, is a state most people live in. An unconscious life is an unintentional life – and life without intention becomes prey to decay.

This decay is fuelled by unconscious consumption.

We have all been unaware of ourselves when we are consuming from a state of unconsciousness.

  • Video Games
  • Food
  • Social Media
  • Porn

Lacking self-awareness (i.e. self-consciousness) begets unconscious consumption. However, too much self-consciousness is not good either, so a balance must be reached through meditation.

Meditation has hit the mainstream because of the hyper-stimulated world we live in.

I took up the practice 4 years ago because I needed to; my mental was too chaotic. And clearly, I am not alone. According to google trends, approximately 275 million people meditate.

The market never lies.

But our minds do.

That is why many opt for a meditation intervention.

Governed by what we choose to pay attention to, the mind inevitably will take us out of the present moment. Meditation is a return to 100% acceptance of the present moment. After all, the present moment is inevitable and how it is now is what it is meant to be.

It took me 4 years to realize this. But I’ve experienced benefits of mental clarity within the first 2 weeks of practice.

In between I’ve made 5 mistakes. Hopefully, by addressing them, you will avoid these pitfalls in your meditative journey.

  1. Excessive judging of my performance.
  2. Forcing an “optimal” session.
  3. Having unrealistic expectations.
  4. Using meditation as a form of procrastination.
  5. Inflating my ego because I meditate and You Don’t.

1. Excessive Judging of my Performance

In any activity, we all like to judge how we performed.

This is important because it allows us to improve.

However, I tended to judge my meditating whilst practicing.

“Your mind is all over the place…” “Don’t think about that, why would you think this?” “Your supposed to be on the cusp of enlightenment right now, but yet, you feel like an average joe.”

The incessant judging, ironically, made the meditative experience much worse. It was only until I let it go that 10x’d my meditation skills. Meditation can also be defined as non-judgemental awareness. This state isn’t reserved for the lotus position. It can be infinitely useful to cultivate in everyday life.

A state of non-judgemental awareness is beneficial for your mental health as it helps you let go of distressing thoughts. There is no worse feeling that judging your own mind.

We are with our minds 24/7, why not befriend them?

2. Forcing an “Optimal” Session

Forcing anything paradoxically pushes it further out of reach.

The goal of meditation isn’t to achieve anything. The goal is quite the opposite actually – to take a break from the desire to achieve. When we sit down to meditate, striving is silenced in favour of total acceptance of the present moment.

It’s a beautiful luxury to be able to carve out 15 minutes a day of doing nothing.

Starting the day like this primes you for a day of relaxed equanimity. In contrast, beginning a session with a desired outcome in mind moves you further from that which you desire. When I began my practice 4 years ago, I often got disappointed when meditation turned into rumination.

Now I’ve learned the wisdom of becoming outcome-independent and ironically, my sit-downs with my mind have been consistently fruitful.

3. Having Unrealistic Expectations

This error is fuelled by the allure of reaching the apex of meditation – nirvana, enlightenment, christ-consciousness… These effervescent states are reserved only for a rare few – Buddha, Jesus, and why not me and you?

Surely if I try hard enough, buy a premium subscription to the Calm app, and just breathe, I could get there.

And imagine if I do – I could then have anything I’ve ever wanted.

This is the dialogue of a beginner with unrealistic expectations. This beginner will experience the inevitable dip in motivation that comes along with doing the same thing every day en route to mastery.

While it is important to cultivate a beginner’s mind when learning something new, it is equally important to curb your expectations.

Shake off the expectations and be ready for the ugly, long road to enlightenment.

4. Using Meditation as a Form of Procrastination

This one is something I still struggle with.

It’s easy to substitute activities you should be doing for activities that give you a feeling of productivity. Meditation is sometimes an activity for me to do as a form of procrastination. Benefits aside, excessive meditation is really another form of procrastination – you’re literally doing nothing. You may come out of it and feel serene, but it won’t help you pay the bills.

A balance between the secular and the spiritual is necessary in the world most of us live in.

5. Inflating my Ego because I Meditate and You Don’t

The devil is a sneaky one.

It is all too common that once you follow a spiritual discipline, developing a spiritual ego is quick to follow. Meditation showed me this truth in the ugliest way. My mind may be calmer, but my ego raged forward.

I started to judge people who didn’t meditate.

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “There is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”

Following a spiritual discipline humbles you. But I didn’t understand that you can be proud of it. I realize this sinister trick now, but I didn’t when I started to meditate. It really is the last attempt by the devil to pull you back into lower states of consciousness.

This barrier can be transcended by cultivating a state of non-judgmental awareness.

Meditation centres around it. But how can you cultivate non-judgemental awareness when you still have an ego to deal with?

The answer I got from Dr. David Hawkins, the creator of the map of consciousness.

We remove this pride by not seeking to kill our ego and judgements, but rather by petting our ego. You will be miserable trying to relinquish something that is human nature. By petting our ego we acknowledge it and let go of the spiritual pride.

Letting go means refraining from letting it fester. It means nipping it in the bud before the emotion of pride overtakes you.

And meditation can help with that.

Meditation can help with a lot of things,

#sparkperception.

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