Silent meditation is a b&tch

I’m working with this wonderful coach, which someday I’ll write more about. For now I’ll just say she’s helping me get out of my comfort zone and push through boundaries —like posting every day, showing more of myself, etc.

Part of my ‘homework’ is daily silent meditation. She says it’s non-negotiable. I’m no stranger to meditation—I’ve done it on and off for 15 years, but usually with a mantra, a guided meditation, or at least a group. I’m finding that silent meditation is a b&tch though. I start the usual way: get comfortable, take deep breaths, try to quiet my mind, and… a million thoughts come in. I make lists, suddenly remember things I forgot to do, the typical monkey mind. Sometimes (often) I even forget I’m supposed to be meditating and I get up and do other things! I just completely forget I even started a meditation.

I almost went on a five-day silent retreat once. If I can’t handle a ten-minute silent meditation, can you imagine how that would have gone? In one of the pictures of the event from the prior year, they showed people sitting immersed in these gorgeous alpine settings and looking blissed out—except for one guy who was looking down, hands on his head looking like he was about to lose it. That probably would’ve been me after about three days.

I really want to conquer this.

I never have this problem with guided meditations. What am I doing wrong? Do you meditate silently? Have any tips for me? Someone please help!!!

Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens

Do something every day that scares you. Or at least once a week. Or at least occasionally—it is life affirming! The thing I did recently was really basic, and I’m sure most people would think I’m a total wimp for having anxiety about it. But it was challenging for me. I swam in a pond. Big deal, right? Well it was, because I had always avoided that pond because I’d been told I could get my toe snapped off by a turtle. And I imagined other creepy creatures just under the surface ready to bite. (I know there’s eels and catfish and who knows what else?) Plus I’ve always hated swimming in dark water where you can’t see what’s beneath you (thanks Jaws). It wasn’t exactly fun swimming out far and thinking about the turtles, but I felt great afterward. And then I went in the next three days and actually enjoyed it.
We often take on the anxieties and fears of our elders/ancestors/families without even realizing it. Not to mention society’s conditioning. Casting off the unfounded fears is so liberating, you may just become addicted to the rush of doing so. What can you do today that scares you? Talk to a stranger? Speak in public? Have a difficult conversation you’ve been putting off? Try it— you just may surprise yourself.