3 Biggest Meditation Mistakes

meditation mindfulness

People will ask me occasionally, what are the biggest mistakes people make in their meditation practice? I don’t believe there are mistakes since every situation can be digested and turned into wisdom. I would say there are some obstacles that people create when starting a meditation practice. 

1. Trying to get rid of thoughts and emotions

I have talked about this in my post Driving With The Backseat Driver.  Trying to get rid of thinking and emotion during meditation will only strengthen them. Better is to let everything just come and go. Focusing on the breath or a repeated phrase will give us an anchor so we will not get lost in our thinking and emotions. The 6th patriarch of Zen once said, “When mind works freely without any hindrance and is at liberty to come and go, we attain liberation.”

2. Not having a clear direction

Why practice meditation? What is the point? As with anything in our lives, if we are not clear why we are doing what we are doing, we will either give up or go about it blindly, ending up confused and dissatisfied. Some years ago, there was a nun ranting about the term “mindfulness.” She went on and on explaining how this term is being overused, sold, and marketed, losing its original meaning. She finally said, “A thief needs mindfulness! If the thief wants to be successful and not go to jail, the thief needs to be very mindful of what they are doing.” As you can see, mindfulness practice itself has no direction. It’s just a tool. So our practice needs a clear direction. Without a direction, all the different kinds of spiritual practices are just empty tools, not able to truly help us live a more clear and compassionate life. 

3. Not Doing The Meditation Practice

Have you ever wanted to lose weight to get into shape and start exercising? Did you do it? For many people, the idea and the intention are good, but they never actually start doing it. We all have heard the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. We know it can help us and can help benefit others. But we actually have to do it. If we just start doing it, it will eventually turn into a habit; a habit that will benefit ourselves and those around us. After we start a meditation practice at home, we need to implement it into our everyday lives. I have seen this so many times where people have no problem practicing meditation at home, but when they go out of the house, they forget about the meditation practice. The clarity and calmness they experienced earlier turned into anger, anxiety, or greed. That is why having a teacher, practicing with people, or taking a meditation course is very important. We need the guidance and support to practice meditation correctly and be able to use the practice in every moment of our lives. 

How about you? What obstacles or challenges have you found in your meditation practice?

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