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The Irony of Meditation; If It Feels Like Torture, It’s Working

Me ScreamingAs you may know, I’ve been trying and trying to meditate for months.  I’m doing a pretty good job – 15 minutes a day in the morning and at night, with deep breathing exercises.  However, these last few weeks have been particularly trying and I don’t mean to be flippant, but have felt like torture.

Literally I sit down and the cells in my body cry out “You have too much to do – get up and start doing it”!  It feels like there are things pushing me from the inside to get up and get moving.

I know, bizarre.  I am taking a weekly meditation course from this brilliant Yogi Ranjeet and brought my concerns up this last Tuesday. “I simply can’t seem to make myself do it,” I said.  I want to, I know it is good for me, I know it helps me focus, but my body is resisting terribly.

It isn’t that I don’t like to relax.  I read books and magazines, nap, watch Dancing with the Stars (sorry), chat with friends, walk, and write.  I am actively caring for my mental well-being through therapy, try to eat well, and exercise.  So why is this so HARD?

Yogi explained to me that when we resist it the most, it is our bodies way of telling us we need it the most.  He suggested I put all excuses aside – don’t want to change clothes, need the perfect space, am too tired, etc.  Get rid of ALL of them, and just do it.  He warned me my body would fight, but then in time it would surrender.

So I’ve been re-energized and doing well since Tuesday, until today.  This morning I woke up in a great mood, fully energized, and was ready to start my day NOW.  So many great people in my life, wonderful projects, health was good.  I was just in a great place, so I did not need or want to meditate.

Yogi’s voice came to the back of my mind, and I said I’m gonna do it.  I’ll test the theory.  And today I sat down to meditate and it felt like pure torture.

It was everything I could do to not get up.  My entire body was fighting from the inside.  I could not relax and certainly had no intention of surrendering, I just wanted to get through it so I could get on my way.

I practiced releasing thoughts.  Just letting them float by, not doing anything with them, just letting them go through me.  And did everything I could to stay feeling my body and grounded in the present moment.

And then the strangest thing happened.  I started crying.  I felt my body relax as tears of relief started flowing down my face into my lap.  I just let it all go.  I stopped fighting my body and just let my insides fight their way out without stopping them.

What I realized is it was not my body wanting movement.  It was my feelings, my emotions.  I needed to release them in order to be present in today.

I don’t feel that energetic drive anymore today, but instead a calm peace with a very clear focus on what I would like to accomplish.  And a feeling of grounding that comes from knowing I don’t have to run or hurry to get there.

Creative Commons License photo credit: metaphysikhall

The Irony of Meditation; If It Feels Like Torture, It’s Working

Kathryn Goetzke

I own a company called the Mood-factory (, a company that creates products based on how sensory experiences effect moods. I also run a nonprofit for depressio, iFred (, we are working to change the brand of depression. And yes, I have ADHD, along with PTSD, major depressive disorder, and a host of other challenges, opportunities, and gifts.

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APA Reference
Goetzke, K. (2011). The Irony of Meditation; If It Feels Like Torture, It’s Working. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Apr 2011
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