One of the main ways to overcome the many obstacles that cross our path to falling into a state of meditation is to actually know what those obstacles are. Then we can understand, confront and overcome them. The path of meditation is a rocky and difficult one, but overcoming those hindrances serves as a challenge and brings us to higher achievements.
PAIN IN THE BODY can be overcome by practising our yogic postures regularly in order to make the body strong enough to sit for some time in stillness. Much energy is wasted in fidgeting about whilst trying to sit still, so if the body is strong enough for it then this ceases to cause a problem. Also sit in a position you can maintain for some time, we don’t all need to sit in a perfect lotus to be able to meditate, just be comfortable as long as the spine is straight for the energy to be able to flow without constriction.
DIET plays an important role in trying to reach a point of meditation, just as the food we eat becomes our body itself, the subtle parts of the food also form our mind and how we are thinking, so a yogi eats a very plain and simple diet, avoiding spicy and stimulating foods so as to keep the mind calm and still enabling themselves to be able to slip into meditation more easily. Foods that stimulate – chillies, onions, garlic, and lemons are among the more obvious ones of caffeine, meat and alcohol. Also avoid eating too much, if the stomach is overloaded meditation is impossible, eat as lightly as possible.
SLEEP is often coming during a meditation session or feelings of sleepiness and lethargy. Try to have a break for a few moments if sleepiness is coming, or adjust the method of meditation to add variety. If you are mentally repeating a mantra and you feel sleepy then repeat it aloud for a while, or do a few rounds of sun salutations and come back to the meditation, you will feel more alert again. Another way is to chant OM aloud for a while then come back to your original method.
DOUBT in the practice is a huge obstacle, as one may have been practicing for some time without thinking they are gaining the results. Firstly have realistic expectations of the practice, it is very difficult and for most of us takes a long time with patience and dedication, but remember often the results are hidden and you are receiving them by just doing the practice even though it may not seem obvious to you. When doubt arises the student should seek the company of spiritually elevating people, by studying the scriptures and spending time in the right company of others who are dedicated to their practice. Be inspired by them and gain the courage to continue, all the best things are worth waiting for!
ANGER AND THE LOWER EMOTIONS may arise blocking you from reaching that state of bliss and contentment, try to just acknowledge them as they are human emotions after all but try to combat them by considering all the disadvantages they have on you both physically and mentally and then in turn the negative effect they have on those that surround you. Then think of the opposite emotion or feeling i.e if you are feeling anger contemplate it and then think of compassion and contemplate all the positive effects that compassion would have on you and all those that surround you. This way you can start to turn all negatives into positives.
Practicing meditation not only brings us so many benefits, we become calmer, stronger emotionally, able to deal with certain situations in a better way and brings us peace but this also vibrates out to all those that surround you, so in improving ourselves we are also improving our environment and the other living entities that surround us. So get our your cushion, get comfortable, light a candle and sit in the love and light of your own silence. Give yourself the opportunity to just be with yourself and breathe, nothing more than that and nothing less.
The path is long the greatest virtue is humility.
Let us make the world a more peaceful place both internally and externally.
OM OM SHANTI OM
May you all find peace, harmony and balance in your life.
Nicky / Mangala