Monday, March 14, 2011

Meditation Stresses Me Out

I feel like a slacker. I have no insights or inspiration to share so far this month. It's not that I haven't been putting in the effort.  Each day I've spent time trying to get still and quiet to become aware of my inner thoughts and feelings. The first week all I did was doze off; this week I'm just frustrated.

I'm frustrated because when I sit down, cross my legs, close my eyes and to try to meditate, one of the following things happens:

1. I get bored.
Will I ever get the benefits from meditating?
(Photo from
2. I feel silly.
3. I think about all the other things I should be doing.
4. I feel guilty that I can't clear my mind.
5. I'm disappointed that I have no deep thoughts or revelations.
6. The phone rings, the dog barks or I am otherwise interrupted.

Can't I go back to February and clean out a closet or shred a bunch of documents? I was much happier when I had lots of concrete tasks on my to-do list! Who would have thought that expending so little effort would be so damn difficult?

But difficult or not, it's only the 14th, and I've committed to spending all of March on this theme. No one said a creating a midlife crisis would be easy. Perhaps my resistance to getting quiet, or "becoming mindful" as the experts call it, is partly caused by fear. I say I want to be open to real change and to make room for new things in my life; but now I wonder - what I'll have to give up to do that? Organizing my files was easy by comparison.

But my other problem is that I don't really know how to meditate. I need to do some research.  I found this simple, short video, titled What is Mindfulness? The benefits are impressive enough that I want to keep pursuing this.

I also found these 20 practical tips for meditation beginners at - some of which directly address the issues I've  been struggling with, such as:

#5) Notice frustrations creep up on you. This is very common for beginners as we think "hey, what am I doing here" or "why can't I just quiet my damn mind already." When this happens, really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings go.
#16) Do NOT stress. This may be the most important tip for beginners, and the hardest to implement. NO matter what happens during your meditation practice, do not stress about it. This includes being nervous before meditating and angry afterwards. Meditation is what it s, and just do the best you can at the time.

Hey, according to these tips, I'm not alone! 

For the second half of the month I'm going to be more deliberate about this meditation stuff as well as look for other ways to be mindful and thoughtful throughout my day. Hopefully I'll have something more meaningful to share in my next post, so please stick with me and check back.


Kelley Long said...

You sound so much like Elizabeth Gilbert in "Eat, Pray, Love!" (that's a good thing) I have yet to try meditating because I fear I'll react the same way! It's hard enough for me to take 20 minutes out of my day sometimes to eat lunch just cause I get so anxious about what else I should be doing!

Thanks for your honesty and I wish you peace soon! :)

Marjie Killeen said...

Kelley - I can't imagine spending a couple months at an ashram like Elizabeth Gilbert did (although to avoid the mountain of laundry in my basement I might...) My friends are recommending yoga and running as alternates. But I'm going to keep at it - every day, same time, same place - til the end of the month and see what comes up.

Thanks for your comments. Namaste!