Just show up
This is an ongoing series running through May to compliment the twice weekly meditation sessions that I will be hosting on YouTube (the videos have now been moved to my Vimeo page). If you have any questions, please contact me.
Sometimes I find that I just don’t have the enthusiasm for meditating. The day in, day out routine of sitting regardless of what is going on in my life just feels too much. It is just another thing to do. And still I sit.
When I lived in the Buddhist Community in South Wales we had a regular meditation practice every morning and every evening. This was easy to attend, even a joy to attend when the community was not busy. However when we were busy with visitors and courses, showing up for these practices while feeling tired was a real effort. Focusing and staying awake were a challenge. When I caught myself nodding off to sleep I wondered what I was doing there. My bed, reading a book, or listening to the radio (one luxury that we were allowed), felt much more appealing.
However, with time I saw that those other options were easy. I could choose to take time off, take a rest, not show if I didn’t feel like it. Or I could choose to just show up, come what may. Yes, at times my meditation was far from focused, but this wasn’t about good or bad meditations. This was about building the habit of showing up to meditate. It was a recognition that to gain benefit from meditation came from making it a priority in my life.
My encouragement to you would be to make showing up be the priority. To not decide not to meditate just on the whim of not feeling like it. Instead, look to build the muscle of forbearance and tolerance. Not a grit the teeth resentment at having to be there, but with an honest recognition that that which is beneficial might not always feel good. That that which helps us is there for us when the going gets tough and not only when the going is easy. That meditation is about familiarization, habit building, and if I just meditate when I am feeling good, that will become my habit and I will loose the strength of applying the meditation practice when life gets difficult - and that is probably when I need it the most.
Give yourself a break if you are hurting. Use your wisdom to decide when a break is beneficial, but have that wisdom be informed by an understanding of the part that meditation is playing in your life.