Meditation is something that I believe truly benefits everyone. There are some common experiences that can come up in meditation, ones that I have personally experienced and also that are mentioned by people new to meditation. 

We may seek out meditation for different reasons, may it be for relaxation and stress reduction, overall health, mental health struggles, focus and clarity, or maybe even to connect to our intuitive nature. All reasons are valid. Meditation has many benefits. 

To the new practitioner, meditation can seem overwhelming and maybe even that it’s something that is unachievable. This cannot be farther from the truth. Meditation can and is accessible to all people. Meditation In my opinion is less about having a clear mind (which can be a benefit of regular practice and an eventual goal) and more to do with bringing our awareness within ourselves.

So much of our time is spent focusing on things outside of ourselves. Our jobs, relationships, home life, bills, and on and on. And when we seek answers the first place that we go is often outside of ourselves as well to books, videos, social media, courses, our friends, coworkers and family. 

We follow how to’s and what not to dos. We make unending to do lists. We run around consistently trying to do it all and yet we rarely stop to look within. To really slow down and sit with something and see what feels right for us. We rarely take the time to check in with our bodies, to see how we’re actually feeling, to see the connection between our thoughts, emotions and our bodies. 

This is what meditation affords us. Time with ourselves. Time to look within. Time to bring our focus and awareness back to within ourselves. Time to leave the outside world and all the often conflicting advice and to find the wisdom within.

To do something that we rarely do will bring up some reactions from the brain (which is used to getting 100% of our attention), call it ego if you choose. Either way it will put up a fight. And when you notice this happen, know that it is perfectly okay, simply bring your attention back to the meditation and practice. 

 

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Normal Experiences

Getting Sleepy or Falling Asleep

If you find yourself falling asleep or getting sleepy during meditation know that this is a very common reaction especially to new practitioners.  I have found that falling asleep during meditation is a sign that either I’m not getting enough sleep or in some cases it is the way of the body avoiding something uncomfortable from coming up. If you fall asleep, this isn’t a reason to stop or start over, simply give yourself some compassion and get back into the meditation and finish.

Some things that may help include: 

  • taking a short nap before meditation or doing your practice when you first wake up in the morning
  • do your meditation practice in an upright position; laying down will probably make you more likely to fall asleep
  • keep your eyes slightly open during your meditation practice

Irritation or Agitation

Irritation or agitation can be felt as a feeling of restlessness, restless legs, irritated skin, the inability to get comfortable. In my experience when this comes up I have difficulty staying still and I just want to run away from it. Often when I’ve had this experience come up in meditation, it’s when I am or am about to process very deep old energies.

Some things to consider and/or that may help:

  • the energy just wants to be seen; keep with it as long as you can; allow the discomfort to be there; it’s a part of your experience just as feeling calm or peaceful would be; you’re not doing anything wrong
  • bring some movement along with your practice such as yoga, qi gong, dancing or walking
  • know that it is only temporary and that this is when your body needs meditation the most

 

Impatience

I find this can come up with or without the irritation and agitation. I’ll just get this feeling and/or story in my mind that I just want to be done. The desire and/or story to keep checking my phone or wondering how much more is left on my timer. I also find that this one comes up when I’m processing or am on the edge of tapping into an old deep energy. 

Some things to consider and/or that may help:

  • the energy just wants to be seen; keep with it as long as you can; allow the discomfort to be there
  • recognize that you’re feeling impatient and that is perfectly okay; it’s a part of your experience just as feeling calm or peaceful would be; you’re not doing anything wrong
  • know that it is only temporary and that this is when your body needs meditation the most

Distracted Mind

This one is probably one of the most common. Like I said the ego will fight back and it often will do so by trying to distract your mind with all sorts of stories. You may find that anything and everything comes up during your meditation practice. Questions about what you will eat for lunch, what you should do on the weekend or how much flour you need to make that cake recipe. Thinking about your to do list, about that fight you just had with your partner, or how you’ve always wished you could dance. 

Even with regular practice there will still be days when you will have a more distracted mind and that is perfectly okay!

Some things to consider and/or that may help:

  • This is a very normal reaction; especially for new practitioners; the ego will put up a stink because it’s no longer getting all of your attention anymore
  • Simply notice that you are distracted; say “I’m feeling distracted,” let it go and move your attention back to your meditation 

Judgement

Everyone has an idea of what they think meditation SHOULD be like. Often it’s of clear minds and a perfectly zen experience. Unfortunately while that may be the goal for some types of meditation and for some people, it’s not likely going to be the experience all the time and especially NOT when you first start out. When our practice isn’t like we THINK it should be we will probably have judgmental thoughts come up. We may judge our practice for what it is or what it’s not, judge ourselves for not doing better, and maybe even judge ourselves for judging ourselves. How is that for a conundrum eh?

Some things to consider and/or that may help:

  • This is also very normal. Judgement is something we all experience and probably more than we even realize. 
  • Recognize that judgement is here; say “judgement is here”; let it go and move your attention back to the meditation.

 

Know that all of these experiences are normal. They do not mean that you are doing anything wrong; in fact it means that you’re doing it right. You are doing something new, you are challenging yourself, you are bringing awareness within and you are starting a journey to self-exploration which is a beautiful thing.

The key is to keep with your practice, know that the benefits outweigh the challenges that may come up. As you build your practice your presence will grow making it easier to face these challenges.

It’s just like learning to run. At first your lungs burn and it’s hard to run for more than a few minutes. Your muscles tire easily and you hurt after your workouts. But these are all signs that you haven’t built endurance and your body hasn’t built up the strength to maintain running for long amounts of time yet.

With meditation it takes regular practice and working through these challenges in order to built up self-awareness and connection to your inner self (presence). As your practice continues your presence will making it easier to face what comes up.

You have to feel the discomfort and continue in spite of it in order to get to the deeper awareness, to the deeper feelings of groundedness and calm. 

To help get you started I’ve created a ten minute meditation that will help you to get started with your meditation practice. The meditation focuses on helping you relax and connect with your body. Click the image below to download your free meditation!

 

Well until next time my friends,

 

Remember …. It’s about loving yourself where you are so that you can get to where you want to go…one step at a time, one change at a time.

 

Gratitude & Hugs

 

Jenn Berkelmans

Jenn Berkelmans

Body Awareness & Wellness Coach

I help women with sensitive souls who struggle with overwhelm & emotional fatigue. I help them to reconnect to their inner wisdom and find the stillness within that will allow them to thrive in this chaotic and loud world while helping them to create their own map to health and wellness.

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