It can be uncomfortable (and even frightening) to sit still with your pain (and your thoughts) without guidance or support. And that may be why many people avoid meditation — and why meditating with a teacher or group can be very useful.
— Melbourne Meditation (@MELBMEDITATE) December 18, 2019
People avoid meditation for a number of reasons, few have to do with not having time. For some people, the sense of being rushed and urgency is what they use to motivate themselves through their workload and endless lists (I would have never made it through my undergraduate degree without pushing myself like this). For others, though, meditation is something feared or dreaded. Why?
When I was studying my Master of Counselling degree, a speaker came into the classroom with some materials developed around mindfulness meditation – but he didn’t acknowledge the sources of these ideas and I pointed them out, politely. He spoke of sitting with your thoughts as some sort of panacea, but his discussion had me wondering if he had ever meditated, himself. I began to ask how he would support someone through the process of learning mindfulness. He looked stunned and asked what I meant. I was then confident that he was not a person who meditated.
Don’t get me wrong – meditation can be incredibly empowering and insightful! If you suffer from something like anxiety, however, those moments when you start to feel detached from your thoughts can feel like you are in free fall. You need someone there to soothe and help you ground yourself in your body. If you are eager to experience the life-changing benefits of meditation, but don’t know where to start and don’t want to go it alone, find a local meditation group where you feel safe. You could start by explaining to the experienced facilitator that you are new and uncertain. If you aren’t able to find such a group and you want to experience mindfulness meditation within counselling, you could look for a therapist who specialises in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, experiencing mindfulness while you work through your anxiety (or other issues).