Wow, it’s been six weeks since I last blogged about meditation. I knew it had been a while when I first began working on today’s post, but I had no idea that so much time has passed.
The last time I blogged about this topic, I talked about the possibility of taking a break from meditation. It turns out that I was far too stubborn for that option.
I didn’t want to make any drastic changes to my meditation habits until I’d figured out if I was going to continue meditating or give it up for a while. There are a lot of fantastic apps and other services out there, but I don’t want to pay for something I won’t use regularly.
If there was a way to begin feeling more relaxed after my sessions again, I was going to keep using my current app until I figured it out.
Now that I have the answer to that question, I have to decide how to change this part of my daily routine.
No, I’m still not back to my regular habits yet, but I am still meditating and I have noticed an improvement over the last two months. Today I’ll share the techniques that worked for me. I’ll also talk about some other ideas I’ll be trying in the near future.
Going Through the Motions
While I know that going through the motions is generally used to negatively describe how someone is performing a certain action, I don’t think of it that way for this particular situation. Sometimes going through the motions is a perfectly valid response when something isn’t working out the way you hoped it would.
There were days, especially back in early December right after What Should You Do When Meditation Isn’t Working? was first published,when I listened to my guided meditation app without consciously trying to clear my mind or participating in the process at all.
As odd as this might sound, listening without trying to participate in any way was helpful. I like the soothing voice of the woman who narrates the sessions on the app I use, so it was nice to hear her talking even if I wasn’t reacting to the routine the way I typically would.
The more I listened to her without expecting myself to join in, the more interested I became in trying again.
Comparing Meditation to Exercise
This section could almost be expanded into it’s own blog post, but I’ve noticed an interesting correlation between meditation and exercise.
Both of them require effort long before you see many results at all. It takes time and dedication to build muscle or lose weight. Even then, there have been times when my progress slowed or even temporarily halted in those areas for any number of reasons. Training your mind requires the same level of determination. There’s no quick fix for it.
The last few months seem like they were a plateau for me in this area of life. Yes, it was frustrating, but once I figured out what was going on I wasn’t nearly as annoyed with the process. I expect it to take a while to notice a difference in many of my fitness goals, after all.
Meditation should be held to the exact same standards.
Remembering What December Is Like for Me
December is my least favourite month of the year for a few different reasons.
One, I live far away from my family, and I miss them terribly over the holidays.
Two, my mood dampens a little bit every year between the end of Daylight Savings Time and the Winter Solstice. My body doesn’t like having that many hours of darkness in a day.
Three, I used to work in a field whose busiest time of the year was between October and the beginning of January with December being the peak of it all. While the actual number of hours I worked in December were only slightly higher than normal, there were multiple times when I stumbled into bed at 2 or 3 am only to go back into work at 11 am the next morning.
The shifts themselves were hectic, too. We dealt with many furious people over the course of the average day, and there was never enough time to do half of the things we were expected to do. I still associate those memories with that month, and it’s not a pleasant association.
Due to these factors, everything is a little tougher than normal for me in December. I should have thought of that when I was blogging about this at the end of last November, but for some reason it didn’t cross my mind until I began working on this post.
Now that I know more about why this plateau happened, I’m ready to start tweaking my meditation routine to see how it can be improved even more than it’s already improved for me since last November.
Other Adjustments I Want to Try
I’ve been doing guided meditation exercises since I first began meditating regularly. My very first attempts at meditation from years ago had been without any guidance at all, and they didn’t go well at all. I quickly became bored and gave up on them. Maybe it’s time to try self-guided meditation again now that I’m better at releasing stray thoughts when they appear?
Right now I’m meditating every evening. As much as I love winding down my day that way, a morning or afternoon session might work better. I’m even thinking about meditating for short periods of time more than once per day to see how they affect me.
If I do continue to use guided meditation, is it time to start exploring other meditation apps, Youtube channels, or other services? I’m using the free version of my current app, and it only offers the same few sessions to people who haven’t paid for a subscription. A few years ago, I signed up for a subscription to my current app, but I didn’t find their premium content worth the expense.
I don’t know how long it will take before I update you on this development in my life again, but I will let you know what I find as I continue to play around with my meditation habits.