HMC Day 10: “What’s the point?”

Holiday Meditation Challenge Day 10.pngMaybe your meditation practice has proven to be instantly helpful in getting you unstuck from a personal problem, or finding greater clarity or relaxation, or mitigating anxiety/stress symptoms.

But let’s be honest: Most of you probably haven’t seen a gigantic effect just yet. When it’s time to sit down and practice, you may notice thoughts like, “ugh, what is the point of this?” or “is this really worth it?”

My answer to the second question is an unequivocal YES! It’s worth it, even if you have not seen measurable/noticeable effects yet. You have to give meditation time. You wouldn’t expect to go running a few times and see dramatic changes in your body. Meditation, like any habit, takes time, repetition and patience to make an impact.

As for “the point” of meditation, that’s hard to summarize. (I think the fact that the point is difficult to summarize is actually a big part of what turns people off from meditating in general. There’s no short and sweet way to explain what it is and how it helps.)

A few things I’ll say on this:

🌟 The point isn’t the same for everyone,

🌟 You can’t understand meditation by reading about it — you have to experience it first-hand, and over the long haul

And, most importantly,

🌟 If you focus too much on trying to achieve any particular outcome, this effort will sabotage your practice, since by definition you’ll be trying to get somewhere rather than being in the moment.

So notice any thoughts you have that threaten your commitment to the practice, and notice the corresponding feelings of frustration or annoyance. Then pause. Decide what to do next. Remember, you can have thoughts and feelings and choose to do WHATEVER YOU WANT with them — including, in this case, continue sitting down and meditating despite your doubts.

Sit for 8 minutes and practice breath awareness. Notice where your mind drifts to, and bring it back, again and again, to your breath. If you find it very difficult to tolerate a silent meditation, feel free to turn on something guided.

**If you missed the introductory post, welcome to the Holiday Meditation Challenge! To receive a summary of each week’s assignments in e-mail form so you can go back to them anytime, click here: