Five Minutes in the John. Chapter Five: Why Don't We Do It?

A most useful approach to meditation practice is to consider it the most important activity of  each day. Schedule it as you would an extremely important appointment, and unfailingly keep your appointment with the infinite."

                                              – Roy Eugene Davis

We know what's good for us, yet human nature takes a rather lackadaisical approach to good practices. We floss and then we don't. We go to the gym and then take a break. Sometimes it is only when we give something up that we discover how much we need it. That is good to know and can tip us over from "I should" to "I want to". When I surveyed clients about meditation there were basically two reasons why they didn't sit. Lack of time and a potpourri of excuses including “I can’t”, “I don’t know how” and “it’s not my thing”. 

Remember the song by the Guess Who?

No time, no time, no time, no time

I got, got, got, got no time

No-no-no, no-no-no, no time

I got no time, got no time, got no time, got no time.

                                                  - “No Time” The Guess Who

Catchy lyrics. That is the song many of us sing when we do not want to do something. Clean the oven? Got no time. Go to the gym? Got no time. I would like to meditate but I've got no time. Yet, we seem to make time for things that we really have to do or really want to do. The question then becomes, do we really want to meditate or are we "should-ing" on ourselves? Should-ing is when we think mediating would be good for us, or we want to be like our best friend who meditates, we should do it but we haven't yet decided we really want to. So if that is the case, meditation sinks to the bottom of the 'to do' list and we have no time.

What do you need to decide you really want to meditate? A group? A teacher? Five minutes in the john? Maybe now is not your time and it would be best not to force it. Whatever you decide is perfectly fine. Should-ing does not feel good because it is heavy and weighs us down. Let's not do that to ourselves. You are not going to do this for anyone but you, and when you are ready you will. That said, there is no harm in taking it for a test drive just to see how it feels.

If we have established we really want to do it, and still have no time, what is going on? Procrastination is resistance and that is almost always fear. What are we afraid of? Lots of things.

The potpourri of “I can’t”, “I don’t know how”, “I suck at it”, “It’s not my thing”. might be all fear. We might be afraid of what people will think of us.  We might be afraid of what we will find deep inside, the thoughts and feelings that may bubble to the surface. We are afraid of being incompetent, of meeting expectations, of not meeting expectations, of judgment, or failure. When I was 5 my father tried to teach me to ride a two wheel bike. He didn’t have patience for teaching and his frustration was obvious. I was afraid there was something wrong with me, that I was slow, or stupid or uncoordinated, or worse yet, that my father would not love me if I didn’t learn quickly and well. Childhood experiences stay with us and keep us afraid, even if we don't remember them. As an adult that translates into resistance and then we give ourselves mixed signals. We want to and we are afraid to, one foot on the gas and one on the brake, and we stay stuck.

Putting our tush on the cush is the cure for that. Take a deep breath and as Nike says "Just Do It!". Once you get started you will break through the resistance barrier and know if it is working for you or not. Try it. Sit. Stay.

Having just cheered you on to go for it, I am now going to tell you that some days you will really do not have time, or you just won't want to do it. That's life. Give yourself a break. We are not machines and missing a day, a week or more is not going to ruin us. I have missed whole years, and still went back to it. Be kind to yourself. Encourage the practice, notice how it feels when you do and when you don't. Be curious about your intention. Self acceptance and compassion are key. Do not beat yourself up, but instead try to figure out what is going on and what you need. Carry on.


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