11 thoughts on “The Irony of Meditation; If It Feels Like Torture, It’s Working

  • April 14, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Thank you. I needed this today. One of those “OMG it’s not just me” moments, which are so important.

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  • April 14, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Fortunately I have a meditation practice that feels neither like torture or an endless austerity. I have been chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for 23 yrs (Nichiren Buddhist practitioner). Silent meditation never appealed to me as the committee in my head wouldn’t stop “talking.” Chanting cleared out the committee for me. I also enjoy walking labrynths and find gardening meditative. Perhaps it is the type of meditation that isn’t working. A brilliant teacher does not mean the meditative practice is suitable for you. Not buying the meditation is torture meme.

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  • April 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I attend a mindfulness practice session once a month and a 6 hr session every so often. I do it for myself. However, during the last all day session I felt bored. I was thinking about leaving before the eating meditation but convinced myself to stay just a little bit longer. After the eating meditation was the loving kindness meditation. I was unprepared for what was going to happen to me.

    Earlier that week my therapist simply said that he wasn’t going to hurt me. I didn’t know where those words belonged. They seemed to bounce around like being in a pinball machine. All week I just kept repeating what he had said – I didn’t know what to do with those words. Then Saturday came, along with the loving kindness meditation and all at once the words from earlier in the week seemed to find where they needed to go. I haven’t cried that hard since my father died 10 years earlier. I’m so glad I stayed and I felt good for days after.

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  • April 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Sometimes we just end up where we are meant to be. Maybe it is not meant to be so difficult. I don’t know. I just know that meditation has been very useful, along with other energy work, (including Reiki), in bringing these old stuffed emotions to the surface,allowing me to release them. Not always a pretty sight.
    Thank you for this article.

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    • April 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Your so welcome, and thanks so much for sharing! I don’t know much about Reiki, but have heard wonderful thing about it. I will have to look into it more and appreciate your expression of gratitude.

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  • April 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Whilst I deeply respect your commitment, for me the truth of meditation is the state of ease, which, by definition, is never, ever, consistent with “torture”.

    Deep ease (as opposed to more fleeting pleasure) is Nature’s way of signalling to each of us that something is valuable and should be repeated.

    Each of us is unique, and that which gives each of us access to that state of ease is different. Personally, I love to sit still for hours, so static meditations work for me. If you’re naturally more active though, might not your best access to a state of ease *and* emotional release, be a more active form of meditation?

    Just a thought.

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    • April 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      I’ve gotten a few comments like this, and I thought I might be using the word like ‘torture’. Maybe it is too strong a word, but any time I think of sitting through emotional pain I think it feels like a kind of ‘torture’.

      My ADHD only helps exacerbate this problem, because it propels me more quickly and increases my impulsivity. Who likes pain, especially deep emotional pain?

      I believe when we bury the pain or escape, it becomes unconscious, and it comes out in other ways throughout our life. Sitting meditation forces your mind and body to connect, and for you to get in touch with those emotions. It is almost as if the constant movement you are going through in life is forced to step and come out in its truest expression.

      It is my experience, not based on any type of scientific study. When I feel the overwhelming need to move during meditation, if I force stillness it often then comes out as an actual need for emotional release, not physical release. I allow my body to surrender instead of fight the need to move, and simply stopping that fight relaxes my body enough to allow feelings to embody my spirit.

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  • April 16, 2011 at 4:06 am

    Right! So how do I get my 9yo ADHD daughter to meditate? My son can meditate for hours and loves doing his own yoga thing with his knees behind his neck, etc. My daughter runs away at the very thought of meditation! 🙂

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    • April 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

      That is a great question! Any thoughts out there? Children are especially challenging, but I found my nephew loved it when it was on a video game and became like a challenge… he had to increase his time for each one.
      Possibly see if her and her brother can have a meditate-off? Or show her one of her ‘idols’ that meditate? Maybe a treat? Teaching the actual physical benefits of meditating? Children all learn differently, but I think if there is a will there is a way!

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  • April 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    There’s a great campaign page on meditation especially for children at: http://www.facebook.com/teachchildrenmeditation.

    In a nutshell, meditations for children are generally much shorter than for adults, and can be integrated with activity even if a child (or adult) rarely sits down. I’m not an expert on meditation for children, but I think the woman behind the page in question probably is.

    I hope this helps.

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  • August 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    You know I have the same feeling inside when I sit to try meditation. I was in group therapy and I couldn’t do the exercises they wanted us too do because I felt like my body was going to jump out of my skin….I want to be able to meditate, but my ADHD also hinders that ability. When I am on my medication, I am able to focus so much better, but I am able to focus on the things I need to get done. I still can’t sit still without that feeling, through meditation. I used to have a hard time explaining what it felt like, it is nice to know that i’m not the only one.

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