In the beginning of my meditation practice, I had such a hard time learning how to meditate. Each time I asked someone how to do it, I got a different answer—and a vague one at that. Then I turned to meditation books—and they weren’t much help either because they didn’t give clear instructions. At first I thought it was just me, and I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I didn’t get it.
Years later when I finally figured out how to meditate, I realized that I wasn’t the only one having a hard time. Today, almost everyone I talk to about meditation has had the same experience. I’ve identified 4 main reasons why people have trouble learning how to meditate:
1) Few people truly understand meditation. It’s hard to find someone who truly understands how to meditate properly and can explain it clearly. Since I got a different answer each time I asked someone about meditation, it became obvious that none of them had a firm grasp of the practice.
2) Most books are confusing. To this day, I have not found a book that does a good job at explaining the actual meditation techniques. They usually overwhelm you with so much information that you end up more confused than before. Some books even use a lot of cryptic language that makes it even more confusing.
3) So many different forms. With so many different forms of meditation, it’s hard to tell which ones really work. Since they vary in their approach, so does their effectiveness. And since most books don’t explain them very well, it makes it even harder to tell the difference.
4) Trying all of them. When confronted with too many choices, we either try as many as we can, or none at all. Either way, we get nowhere. If we’re always trying different forms of meditation, we never become proficient in any one of them. It’s like trying to learn how to play a different musical instrument every week. You’ll never learn to play music that way, so why would you expect to learn how to meditate using the same approach?
It clearly makes more sense to choose a well-established form of meditation and practice it until you become proficient with it. Then you’ll have a basis for evaluating other forms.
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