photo: Christopher Michel on flickr

photo: Christopher Michel on flickr

Dear Meli,

I’m a spiritual person. And by this I mean, I’m a professional spiritual person. I’m a minister. And I have a little problem. I can’t meditate. I mean, I try, but I’m horrible at it. I’m always telling people about the benefits of meditation, because I know that there are benefits to meditating. But I’m not on the receiving end of those benefits. I feel like a phony. I also feel like I’m missing out on something, like the amazing meditation practice that I should have. Any ideas?

Blocked in Boston


Dear Blocked,

I love meditation! And I do receive vast, immeasurable benefits from the practice.

I imagine that talking about the value while not practicing yourself would lead to feeling unaligned, and overall funky. But keep in mind, meditation is only one path. And there are many ways to meditate! You probably are meditating and not thinking of it as meditation because you’re not sitting cross-legged on a little round pillow, om-ing away.

Do you walk in nature, appreciating the beauty around you? Many people call this meditation. Do you practice a form of art? For many of us artists, this is the most blissful form of meditation. (Just try to talk to me when I’m writing a song, and see how that goes.)

I could go on and on with the seemingly endless varieties of meditation. But there are books and websites devoted to such things.

That said, for those readers out there who are practicing meditation, but feeling like they suck at it, I have this to say:

Meditating is about focusing the mind. In time, you can learn to watch your mind at work, and actually gain mastery at guiding it and/or quieting it. But, for many of us, much of our meditation time is spent off the track of this quieted mind. Because, quite honestly, the mind seems to have a mind of its own.

So if you happen to be judging yourself as bad at meditating because you notice you have so many thoughts whizzing by, then I argue that because you are noticing, you are focusing – so you are great at meditation after all!

All of this said, might I suggest that if you decide you are not going to meditate in any manner – even by riding your bike and paying attention to the sensation of the breeze in your face – you be totally honest about it? Many people would find this refreshing, and feel relief in your message.

And, if they are one of the many people who don’t like to meditate, you could become a role model for someone living a conscious spiritual life without a meditation practice. You could certainly talk about the benefits touted, while admitting it’s not for you! Right? (By the way, I bet you’re highly focused while writing that talk – another form of meditation.)


Happy moments of focus to you,


What’s your favorite form of meditation? Share your comments below!

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