Meditation for Beginners: Don’t Try So Hard
When we first start to meditate it’s easy to apply the same force and effort to meditation as we do to other areas of our lives. It’s a natural thing to assume that putting more effort into something will yield better results – right?
Well, not exactly. This isn’t always the case, as we get more experience with meditation it becomes clear very quickly that trying harder does not yield more results. In fact, that kind of effort can actually hinder your progress.
This is because the nature of our mind is such that any kind of mental effort we exert will serve to perpetuate the mind’s thinking. The mind loves to think, it loves to grab hold of things and analyze them, play around with them, perpetuate them. If we give the mind something to hold on to – such as our thoughts, certain emotions we experience or an experience that arises during meditation, then the mind will will run away with them and we will lose some of the mindfulness we gained.
The trick then, as I’m sure you’re aware of, is to simply observe the mind’s tendency to grab onto the contents of our mind, and slowly you begin to distance yourself from it without judgment, and sooner or later, it will cease to happen at all.
It’s easy to turn meditation into something that our mind grab’s a hold of and tries to use as a reliable source of positive emotions, or something for us to ‘perfect’. It’s easy to obsess over how exactly to do it and how mindful you’re being and how many seconds, let alone minutes you can be mindful for.
Instead of letting this happen – don’t try so hard! Really, meditation isn’t that hard if you know that the secret to it is letting go. The difficulty arises in remembering to let go consistently. It’s important to take a leap of faith and trust that identifying with the mind’s incessant thinking is not the way to go.
If you simply let go of that attachment, it suddenly becomes much, much easier to observe the mind’s activity without getting sucked into it.
It becomes easier to be mindful and aware of how your mind operates, and given enough practice with letting go of control in your meditations, you may notice that the mind doesn’t even try as often – it knows the deal.
“Great, my host isn’t going to give into my incessant bulls**t, I guess I just have to be quiet again”
It’s that simple if you make it so.