Why do we resist meditation?

I’ve already fallen by the wayside regarding one of my New Year’s resolutions… my daily commitment to meditation is wavering. I know how important it is for me personally to have a daily practise and yet here I am a few weeks into the New Year resisting the very thing I need. So, it was very helpful to read a recent blog post by Mary Maddux at Meditation Oasis offering some insight on why we resist meditation.

Mary advises that the first place to start is to investigate for yourself why you resist. “It can help you get in touch with what the resistance is all about and lead to valuable insights. Often when we become conscious of the feelings and beliefs that underlie our behavior, we can find ways to make changes.” she writes.

“I suspect that the reason for the resistance may be different for different people, but a couple of possibilities come to mind. It may simply be the momentum in our busy lives that keeps us moving at fast speed, as well as our culture which is telling us to do, do, do.

Our culture doesn’t recognize a very fundamental principle, and that is that being rested and relaxed is the most important key to being creative and productive. Getting things done is equated with putting in time. With this deeply ingrained idea, we often don’t give ourselves permission to take time out for meditation. And then when we do take the time, the mind and and body are in such high gear that we feel restless. You may sit to meditate and find yourself feeling like you have to get up and go. Meditating requires that we be prepared for that and continue to experience the restlessness and let it unwind.

The resistance can also be emotional. All of our busyness keeps us from feeling things we don’t want to feel. Meditation gets us in touch with our inner experience, including our emotions. If there is something going on in our lives that troubles us or we are not comfortable with certain emotions, we may tend to avoid meditation. And yet, to be truly relaxed and present, which are both goals of meditation, we have to be able to experience our emotions.”

It is good to know from reading Mary’s post and also some of the comments on her blog, that I am not alone in resisting meditation. Some commentators cite the ego, some judging themselves, some restlessness, some lack of discipline as reasons for resisting. I can identify with all of these reasons and perhaps Judith’s comment that “it almost seems like I am being self-indulgent when I sit and and meditate when I could be doing “other things” ” rings the most true for me. 

The conclusion of Judith’s comment has inspired me to start again with my daily practise, for as she says: ” I absolutely know in my heart that my meditation is a sacred time and I should give it the respect and honour it deserves….. I am going to allow myself to be more open to the flow of love and tranquility in my daily life.”