Am I doing this right? I bet you’ve asked yourself this question many times by now.
You’ve recently started your meditation practice and not sure if what you’re doing is correct.
You keep hearing that you’re supposed to observe your thoughts… But what does it feel like exactly? Should you divide your mind into two halves?
You sit down to meditate only to find yourself lost in a long train of thoughts. And when finally you realize you’re in that state you try to assure yourself that it’s ok and there is nothing to worry about.
You want to use guided meditation apps, but should you be using them in the first place?
You have all these questions that affect your practice, and you want to get some clarity to move forward.
Well, I’ve had a lot of questions too when I just started my meditation practice.
The one thing I remember reading somewhere is that your mind will fall into the same trap over and over again.
I was looking for one single trap, but as it turned out there are many traps, and our busy mind loves falling into them over and over again. It can’t help itself; you could almost say that it loves those traps.
In this article, I’ll share common meditation mistakes that beginners make when starting out.
I hope you’ll find it useful.
#1. Wanting relaxation
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is trying to relax in meditation. Meditation is not about relaxation. It’s about a delicate balance between relaxation and alertness.
When you start to meditate and expect to fall into a relaxed state, you’ll find yourself disillusioned pretty quickly.
You’ll probably experience a mixture of restlessness, discomfort, and boredom. But that’s ok. Meditation is about noticing those states and being in them fully instead of rejecting them.
#2. Relying on Guided Meditation (Too Much)
Ok, so I wrote an entire article about iPhone meditation apps for beginners. So it might seem strange that I include this as a common mistake.
But let me explain what I mean.
There is an opinion out there that you can’t practice true meditation with apps.
Well, I say that in the very beginning it’s ok to use guided meditation. What is not ok is to continually rely on guided meditation to unwind and relax.
At some point, you should start practicing meditation in total silence by yourself. That is the only way you will make progress and learn to be present during daily activities.
#3. Holding on to Your Thoughts
Every time you meditate you’re bound to face some of the negative thoughts from the depths of your subconscious mind.
You’ll try to hold on to them, but the key is to let them come and go. Don’t try to analyze them during meditation. Just acknowledge that you have that thought and bring your attention back to your breath.
You can analyze your thoughts later.
#4. Choosing the Wrong Time of Day
What time did you choose to meditate? Does it matter? And if it does matter, in what way exactly?
If you’ve been wondering about the perfect time to meditate I have good news: there is no right or wrong time to do it.
What does that mean? It means that ultimately you should learn to enter a meditative state in every challenging situation that life will throw at you.
So it’s not about the right time, it’s about the ability to meditate whenever you need to do it, and that can be at any moment.
But in the beginning, it’s important to meditate in the morning.
The recent study showed that new habits are more likely to form in the morning. So try to incorporate meditation into your morning routine.
#5. Expecting Quick Results
Did you start your meditation practice a while ago but don’t see any significant results?
What about those scientific articles that show meditation benefits. They can’t be wrong, can they?
Well, yes and no. Yes, meditation brings a lot of benefits. And no, you will not experience those benefits right away.
The biggest mistake you can make is to start meditation as “medication.” This approach will result in failed expectations, disappointment, and frustration.
Benefits are the byproduct of meditation, not it’s ultimate aim. The sooner you realize that it’s a spiritual practice, the sooner you’ll experience all those benefits.
They will come naturally, at no particular time. And by the time you’ll experience them you’ll no longer treat them as “benefits.”
#6. Judging the Experience
When you meditate, you’ll start to notice persistent thought patterns that your mind loves to engage in.
In everyday life those thoughts are mostly unconscious, only meditation can bring them to your attention.
Those thoughts will try to suck you in a black hole of negativity, making you ruminate the past and fear the future.
The best thing you can do is not to get involved in those thoughts. Notice them and let them go as best you can.
#7. Starting with the Wrong Duration
How long should you meditate? 1 minute? 3? 5? 10? 30?
What is the magic number that will finally make your meditation practice enjoyable? The answer is very simple – it depends.
This article is for those who are starting out, so you should start with very short daily sitting meditations no longer than 10 minutes. You can even do 3-minute meditation, the main thing here is that you do it consistently.
#8. Not Making a Time in Your Schedule
This is another mistake that many people do in regards to their practice. They can’t find time to meditate.
You have a busy job and people that need constant attention. You already have a perfect routine that you’ve been following for years. And adding a 10-minute window to sit and meditate seems almost impossible.
But here’s the deal: you won’t be able to meditate effectively unless you make time for it. Yes, you don’t find the time, you make it.
It’s as simple as that. It’s the conscious choice that you have to make for yourself and your well being.
#9. Being Inconsistent
Another mistake is being inconsistent.
It’s important to understand that in the very beginning meditation will only be a new habit. Nothing more, nothing less.
You will not experience any significant change in how you think or behave until you’ve practiced for several months or more. And that’s a good thing.
Meditation is a good habit. Just like reading, healthy eating, and exercise, it will yield results only after a certain period of time.
#10. Thinking About the Right and Wrong Way to Meditate
When you’re just starting out your mind will be very active during meditation sessions. It will tell you lots of different things.
But most of all it will constantly ask you if you’re doing it the right way. It’s a mental habit we learn from early childhood. We always try to be perfect and avoid mistakes.
But here’s how you should do it: when you meditate forget everything you know about meditation. Yes, you heard it right. Relinquish every mental concept of how meditation “should be” and just “be.”
This is the time when you connect with the infinite depth of your inner being. It’s the time when you become one with the universe and break all barriers of separation. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
Are You Making Any of These Meditation Mistakes in Your Practice?
So what should you do from here?
Read the tips above, apply them to your practice. Remember about consistency, not judging your experience, treating every thought lightly, and not getting involved with them. To remember everything you’ve learned from this article download this free checklist by clicking the button below.