Why Is Meditation So Hard? 7/2/16


Why is meditation so hard? Do you have difficulty with “traditional meditation” that asks you to sit still, usually in a cross-legged position with your eyes closed for minutes on end and empty your mind of thoughts? Or you can watch your thoughts float by but not engage them. Of course, we have all heard about the benefits of meditation such as reducing stress and improving overall well-being. Studies have shown how effectively it lowers blood pressure and works with pain management.

I am good at meditation most times but I have my days when I just can’t sit still long enough to relax and meditate. Those can be days when my chronic pain is higher or my anxiety is higher or my depression is exaggerated so I have more difficulty concentrating and relaxing. Yet, meditation helps all three of those problems so to not meditate at those times makes for negative outcomes for me. What do I do?

There are several alternatives to traditional meditation that can help you receive the same effects without the need to sit in a specific position and meditate for a specific time limit. That is what I want to discuss with you today.



When you just can’t sit still, a walking meditation is a good choice. You don’t need special equipment. All you need is a path, sidewalk, or treadmill. Just choose the time and place. As you walk, let any thoughts pass through your mind like clouds floating by. Pay attention or be mindful of your body and really get in touch with its movements.

Notice how your feet feel as they touch the ground. Pay attention to your hips moving and your arms swaying as you walk. See if you can break down and experience every bodily sensation as you walk.

As you focus on your body, you get out of your head and give your mind a chance to be still.



Swimming is a natural moving meditation. As you swim, you have a natural rhythm of focus and breathing. You focus on your breath because if you don’t, you drown. But once you have your rhythm established, it is like you and the water are doing a dance.

The repetitiveness of swimming is the meditative part of the exercise. Your movement of your arms along with the rhythmic breathing as you move release you mind from thinking of anything else except the swim.

Any demanding repetitive exercise that requires extreme focus can have meditative properties, including running and cycling.  



Tai Chi and Qigong are other types of moving meditation. They help you build awareness and mindfulness. Movement, breath, focus, and healing are all involved. These are also great choices if you find sitting meditation boring or difficult.

While both are mind-body practices they have slight differences:

  • Tai chi is a martial art and is moving meditation. It is low impact, aerobic, and requires weight bearing. It improves balance, strength, and energy flow in your body.
  • Qigong also involves movement but also focuses on training your mind to send energy or chi to specific areas of your body.

Either way, both practices have easy moves you can learn and use in lieu of traditional meditation.



Affirmations are positive statements about you or the world around you. You can listen to them from a recording or you can read them. They’re another good alternative to traditional meditation and bring more positive energy and confidence into your life.

There are many audios, videos, and books /ebooks resources available with affirmations. Just use a search engine such as Google or Bing. 



Another interesting alternative to traditional meditation isArt Meditation. You don’t have to be an artist with artistic ability to do it. Today, you can grab an adult coloring book and some crayons or pencils and you’re ready.

Coloring is a seemingly mindless activity that engages your attention and keeps your mind focus on the activity at hand. You end up concentrating on filling in the colors. Essentially that is what meditation is…focus.

Other art forms and crafts count too. Drawing, painting, pottery and sculpting all work. So does knitting and crocheting. Or even getting lost in doodling can be a form of meditation.



Last on my list is Partner Meditation. Meditation does not have to be a solitary activity. There are many of the above activities that you can do with a friend. There is also an article that gives three Partner meditation exercises including the “I Am Aware exercise” at Partner meditation exercises.


The next time you seem unable to do your meditation in traditional style for whatever the reason, give one of these suggestions a try. You may find that you like them for a change of pace or for those times when you just can’t sit still. Keep meditating, though.

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