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Gillian Sanger

What do you do when you don't feel like meditating?

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This week's question asks:

What do you do when you don't feel like meditating?

This question was inspired by the worksheet 'When You Just Can't Meditate'. It got me curious about what our options are when we don't feel like meditating. What sorts of things do you do? Do you skip it? Do you try a short practice? Do you take a deep breath and get on with it? Do you do something else that feels equally nurturing? All reactions are welcome; this is a judgment-free space.

If you have any tips or compassionate words for those who struggle to meditate, I invite you to share those here as well.  

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It's funny- I never don't feel like meditating. 

Sometimes I may not want to get out of bed quite as early (procrastination!), or my mind is racing and cluttered that I anticipate my sit won't be what I wish for (clinging!), but I always WANT to sit.  The consistency of my practice provides me grounding and stability, the very things I needed when I began to meditate.  Each morning is like a coming home, even when imperfect (always).

Be well-

Rachel

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If I don’t feel like meditating, before simply giving in I try to examine what is going on that has given rise to an aversion to meditating. Often that settles me right down, but if it doesn’t the next step for me is evaluating my affordable energy. If my tank is empty, then maybe I need sleep or a refreshing exercise. If I’m too agitated, I do some walking meditation or Tai Chi first. If aversion about something else seems to be the problem, then I meditate but start with practices to generate kindness and compassion. It usually makes being with aversion simply part of being what we are that I can regard with kind acceptance. Sometimes I seek out a rewarding interaction with another person before meditating or resolve to do so later. That seems to help tilt my perspective from being aversive to being more enthusiastically engaging. I really think a big part of developing enthusiasm for formal meditation practice is developing an attitude of friendship toward oneself and others, as challenging as that is for me. But, “challenging” is o.k. too.

Boredom used to be an interesting challenge. When I would get bored I learned simply to meditate anyway and do two things—examine boredom and really ground my attention in other sensations of my body. So much would be going on aside from boredom.😊

Boredom off the cushion is harder for me because it seems to come down to things I wish I could change but cannot. I’m a bit of a doom scroller, but I also use the pent-up energy to read and try to better understand things, to better understand how we delude ourselves. LOL, that often leads me right back to the meditation cushion! 

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What great responses. All so very unique!

Similar to David, what I do when I don't feel like meditating depends upon what is going on in mind and body (i.e. am I being stubborn or is my mind-body asking for something a bit different?). In any case, what I am learning to do each morning, regardless of what I 'feel' like, is to commit to some sort of 'tuning in' for at least 20 minutes. This might end up as formal meditation practice or it could end up being more expressive, such as journaling, dance, or yoga (i.e tuning in and seeing what pours out).

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