The Problem With Meditation

I have a love/hate relationship with meditation. I don’t think I’m the only one. I strongly suspect there are others like me, who love the benefits of meditation, but force themselves to sit on their cushions because they could easily put it off forever if they didn’t make themselves do it. To put it simply, it’s much easier to SAY I have a meditation practice than it is to ACTUALLY HAVE a meditation practice.

My beautiful friend and meditation teacher,  Karen Maezen Miller

My beautiful friend and meditation teacher, Karen Maezen Miller

Sometimes I think meditation can take a little irritating ache and turn it into a full-on muscle spasm. It.’s not that the spasm wasn’t there before, and meditation caused one to form. No, the spasm was there the whole time. It’s just that I was so busy running from it, denying it, that I only allowed myself to acknowledge that small, manageable ache.

I think that’s why a lot of people don’t meditate. Because despite all attempts to avoid it, they know the spasm is there . They know it the way you know when someone is about to tell you bad news. You see the look on someone’s face, you hear the tone of their voice, and you know. You can cover your ears, you can look away, you can even run away. But you will always know, no matter what you do, that the bad news, the sorrow, the grief, the anger is waiting for you. Waiting for you to turn around, sit down, and face it.

You think it will kill you. It won’t. You think you can’t possibly stand it. You can. The running away, on the other hand, might kill you. The looking way might be the thing that does you in. It’s hard to see where you’re going when you’re afraid to look at what’s in front of you.

Look. Please. Because looking won’t kill you. Sitting down and breathing won’t kill you. In fact, it’s the only thing that will save you.