Lifestyle Philosophical

7 Reasons you couldn’t meditate and be even more productive

Sitting quietly, doing nothing for hours, practically doing nothing will improve your productivity and efficiency? At a first glance, it may look counterproductive to meditate, observe silence, and doing nothing. But it’s the best paradox I’ve ever known.

A short disclaimer: this article is not for people who never tried meditating, or who doesn’t know what meditation is. This article is not about listing the benefits of meditation or how to meditate.

This is for people who tired of meditating and who wanted to make it a habit but couldn’t be successful in the process. If you are in this category, then this 7 reason makes greater sense to you.

1. Timing, Commitment & Habituation

Humans are creatures of habits. It’s difficult to build a habit, but it’s less difficult to lose one. When we want to build a habit, we should look only at the way of building it, instead, we focus on doing the task. Don’t be confused. I will explain it.

Unlike any task, meditation is only beneficial if done regularly. It is almost similar to taming a horse. The training of the horse does not depend on force but on habituation, no matter how difficult the training is or how bad the horse is.

Sitting and meditating for an hour is a difficult task and obviously tests your will power to do it. Here, you put your mind to doing the task, the difficult task of meditating. All you think is about imagining yourself doing the meditation, and for most of us, the thought itself weakens our will power to even try it. Usually, we deter or defer it at the last minute.

To overcome this, let’s just pretend to think and act (trying to cheat your brain and its logical reasoning behind it) you are going to do something that you usually do at a particular time of the day, regularly. Direct your thoughts on commitment and block a time in your calendar and keep everything off-schedule from that allocated time.

If you’re not doing meditation at this time, you are not doing anything at this time. That’s all. If you hold out against acting on anything during this time, Congrats, you’re already doing half of the meditation. Start doing this regularly, not forcefully, but regularly as a habit. Let your brain understands it is not a big deal, so it won’t act against this eventually. Over some course of time, a little will-power is enough to sit and assume silence with closed eyes.

Make a habit of doing nothing at first for a certain amount of time.

2. Planning for long duration

As I said, even the thought of sitting and doing nothing for an hour will threatens your mind like anything. When you plan for longer duration, you mind will argue with plenty of reasons that seems so logical, that half of you wanted to be convinced and skip the meditation for the day and another half miserable fails at arguing with better reasons.

When you about to sit for meditation, here are samples of your mind’s voice. Ironically, you never thought of wasting time when you have plenty of tasks at your hands for the day, but you will feel the time you blocked (for meditation) could be used to do those tasks or could be utilized to be more productive. You suddenly feel guilty for not getting close to your goals or you find excuses that are so reasonable, but when you think about it later, most of the time it is not.

To overcome this, use the 2 minute rule.

The rule is simple. No matter what, when the time for meditation comes, sit immediately. Doing this immediately before thinking will help you to avoid the inner conflicts in your mind. Once sat down, start to meditate for two whole minutes. That’s 120 seconds. Don’t count the seconds or don’t run a virtual timer in your mind. Just sit there for 2 minutes. How will you judge whether the 2 minutes is over or not? The trick is you don’t judge and you don’t even want to know. This simple target of 2-minutes will ease your brain and make it look so harmless to try. Little resistance = less willpower spent. In other words, it’s damn easy to do.

When you confidently believe when the 2 minutes is over, you could see yourself halfway through meditation. Almost everyone who used this trick doesn’t want to stop immediately, as they don’t want to spoil what they have already invested in this session of meditation.

Remember, the struggling part of any task is the starting 2 minutes

3. Expecting perfection – Couldn’t stop thinking

Many people complained to me, that they couldn’t do the meditation in a right way. When I asked them, what is the right way according to them? they replied, they couldn’t stop thinking during meditation.

Obviously, I understand this. Meditation is a state of being none, having a blank mind, motionless, thoughtless. But it is the state that you will be in when you succeeded in taming your horse. Not during the training.

You can’t do meditation, you can only practice it. It’s ‘practicing‘ meditation similar to ‘practicing‘ medicine.

You can never stop thinking in the meditation. If you do, you will only delay the results. Frankly you can never stop your thoughts. Your thoughts stops itself. Even if magically your mind is bending for your commands, that command itself is a thought. Don’t try to keep your mind blank or control your thoughts.

Let the thoughts run freely. Just watch it. Don’t reason it.

4. Ugly and undesirable thoughts

The most suppressed thoughts will come out to the surface with greater force during the first few weeks. Most people afraid to observe these thoughts. They regret having those thoughts in their mind. When you disturb the surface of the dunghill, you will get the strongest pungent smell. If you give its time, it will pass eventually. Unsheathing the surface may look nicer, but it doesn’t mean it’s ugly inside. Meditation is a cleaning process. Whenever you clean anything, you must face the dirt.

Understand this. These bad thoughts, nastiest imaginations are not who you are or who you want to be. It’s just laying there. This doesn’t mean you encouraged it to be in your mind. The more ugly thoughts is a good symptom that your mind is cleansed faster. But at the same time, do not run behind these thoughts. Just watch them coming and going away. You don’t have to stop meditating because of this.

When you clean the dirts, it will be more dirty before becoming clean.

5. Body pain

Unfortunately there’s no sitting position which is comfortable for long duration meditation. Sound mind dwells in a sound body. If you are exercising and keeping your body healthy enough to sit in a place for 30 minutes straight, then you have to be doing fitness before meditation.

I suggest, going passive on the body actions is a first step instead of assuming certain position or hand symbols (mudra). Just let the body take its form. Shifting position during meditation is not a bad thing to do. But, it delays the process.

Adaptation is the secret. Let the body adapt for a position (which is comfortable for you at first). I don’t have anything up my sleeves for this issue.

6. Not in a prepared environment

Preparation of the meditating environment and preparing for meditation seems to cost more of your energy and time on a practical day. If you don’t have an exclusive place only for meditation, then this is going to be the biggest hurdle of all the listed reasons here.

Setting up your environment shouldn’t take a few seconds to a maximum of 2 minutes. My suggestion is to clean your place in the morning if you’re going to meditate in the evening. To be clear, finish all the chores way ahead.

When it time to meditate, do some superficial cleaning and tiny routines like spreading the mat, adjusting the light, closing the doors, etc. If you do it for more than 2 weeks, next you can experience that these tiny preparations are quite enough to trigger your mind to fall on the track to do the meditation. This is more or less announcing to your mind to prepare for what’s to come. So it will obey and not resist.

Apart from this, announce your reservation to your family, silence your digital devices, so there’s no unnecessary intervention.

Announce with your preparations to your mind and others. Don’t do preparations that are similar to chores just before meditation.

7. Expecting instant gratification

Human mind works positively towards rewards. Positive reinforcement is the best way to discipline any habits. Meditation is not one of those things that gives immediate or instant reward.

Usually, people defer or deter this practice because they couldn’t see immediate or visible results. But you believe it or not, meditation always gives you immediate results. The sad part is it is not going to work in the way you expect. It is not going to give the results in the order you prioritized to get out of it.

Meditation is a holistic approach. The results will not grow in one direction it expands in all 360°. The size of the circle is very tiny for you to see it at the beginning. Until you see it, I suggest you not to expect anything to happen like wonders. I have no sugar coated trick for this final issue.

All you have to do is “do”, not expect. At the beginning doing itself as a reward.

If you still having any issues/doubts in this matter just posted in the below comments section I will try my best to answer them. If any of my suggestions helped you, share it with me in comments. It means much to me.

About the author

Sakthitharan Subramanian

Systems Thinker | Academic Researcher | Productivity Enthusiast | Loves Minimalism, Philosophy | Ph.D. in Computer Science |