Why Expectations Set Your Meditation up for Struggle
Meditation might not be as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as a well structured yoga pose.
But if we relate the common perception of yoga to our meditation practice, the idea that we need to look good or appear calm, peaceful, centred and powerful, we might feel disappointed if we don’t always feel that way in practice. If we think the appearance of how peaceful or how zen we seem to be is the normal expected outcome of meditation, we are setting ourselves up to struggle.
There are so many problems with this image of meditation and this perception of meditation and yoga as though it was something that is amazing to look at and feels incredible and blissful each time. It sets the bar so high with unrealistic ideals of what we must achieve to be doing it right or good enough.
One of the things I learned when doing my yin yoga teacher training and my meditation teacher training is;
it’s not about how it looks or appears to others, it’s how it feels to you that is the true essence of the practice.
It might feel uncomfortable, busy, unsettled and even unpleasant at times. It’s how you meet those feelings and hold them all in your awareness with compassion and love. Remaining present as things arise and dissolve.
The practice isn’t about avoiding discomfort, it can feel more like leaning into acceptance, practicing resilience, opening to an awareness of all that is present for you, as you allow your discomfort to maybe slowly transition in the space of loving awareness and non-judgmental presence.
This can fluctuate and evolve overtime and you may assume that you shouldn’t experience any more suffering or discomfort the more you meditate. This belief will also will set you up for disappointment.
The full range of emotions in the human experience are still there. You don’t become separated from your emotions. However you can begin to bring nurturing and understanding to your experience, learning to listen deeply without avoiding or resisting what’s being shown to you.
You may be able to get a better sense of what you need to support yourself through challenges. Maybe providing clarity on how best to move forward and process your emotions with compassion and in recognition of your humanness.
So it might not look as impressive or empowering as a beautifully structured yoga pose, but this inner work you do with meditation will last a lot longer than a single shape or form you take in the mat. It is continually attending to your inner space and holistic wellbeing. That feeling of connection to yourself ripples out into everything you do, becoming who you truly are.
This includes the messy, the ugly, the icky, the embarrassing, the unthinkable, the unmentionable, the raw and the vulnerable.
It’s all welcome in a meditation. There is no part of you that is unlovable.
📸 Conscious Design