Meditation is a big part of life for many spiritual paths. The pagan path is certainly one of those that use meditation regularly to feel connected to their deities and the energy of the world around them. This can be a stressful revelation for those just starting on a pagan tradition because the idea ( and often the practice ) of meditation can be so daunting for some.
I’m in several pagan communities across various social media sites. One of the most common things that come up is the idea that a person just can’t meditate no matter how hard they try. For many of us, there are very good reasons to feel frustrated such as neurodivergent brains, distracting environments, or even past trauma that keeps us from being able to focus on anything for an extended period of time.
Much like many other parts of the pagan journey, the practice of meditation can benefit your life before you even feel like you’re doing it right. We looked into the question of ” what is meditation?” and discussed the benefits of meditation for pagans here. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at a few tips to help you get the most out of a regular meditation practice even if you feel like you’re completely screwing it up.
Making the Most Out of Your Meditation Practice
One of the most important things about starting a meditation practice is keeping with it. Even if you feel like you’re not doing it right you should stick with it. Many who are new to the practice begin to doubt themselves quickly when it doesn’t seem as easy as it looks at first glance.
If only those same people could give themselves a little grace, patience, and permission to learn rather than be perfect they would quickly see just how beneficial a meditation practice can be… even when you’re still figuring out what you’re doing and how to make it work best for you. These three tips will help you to slow down and give yourself every chance to truly enjoy meditation no matter what limitations or restrictions may be present in your life.
Be Honest With Yourself
Take a little bit of time to really examine what limitations you have in your life that may hold you back from a fulfilling meditation experience. Perhaps you don’t have the best attention span, or maybe you just cannot find time to carve out of your day to sit in meditation.
Make a list of the things that are holding you back. Then take a while to sit with those things to analyze how you might be able to change your meditation practice to work within those limitations.
Personally, I have ADHD as well as issues with the breathing practices that are often associated with meditation because of scarring from previous lung issues. I spent quite a while being mad at myself because I couldn’t just sit down and focus because of my ADHD or anxiety over my breathing. For the longest time, I felt like I was not going to find the connection I wanted with my ancestors and deities because I couldn’t just shut my mind up.
Once I started being honest with myself that this was a limitation for me, and found ways to counterbalance my poor attention spans such as shorter, more frequent meditations and varied types of meditations based on my daily ability levels I began to really feel like I was getting somewhere.
Over time, I began to notice that even though I didn’t do it perfectly every day I could notice a change in my irritability levels, my intuition, and other things that come with having a calmer, better-organized mind.
Work Your Practice Around Your Life
Some traditions require a person to meditate at a particular time, facing a certain direction, or in various other conditional ways. If one is in one of those traditions they should, by all means, do their best to meet the requirements of their faith or talk to the leaders of that faith to find ways to work around their individual needs.
Those of us who are just adding meditation to an eclectic or generally pagan tradition have a little more wiggle room though. It’s important to look at your individual goals for adding meditation to your spiritual life. Do you want it to help you focus more on your intuition or perhaps enhance a clairvoyant ability? Maybe you want to be able to commune with your ancestors or deities better. No matter what your purpose is for adopting a meditation practice there are ways that you can adapt that practice to your life.
This may mean taking some time out of your day after your shower or before you go to bed each night for a few minutes in meditation or even doing it during your lunch break. Maybe you can meditate each day ( which I definitely recommend ) or maybe you can only do it every other day or once a week. No matter what your individual practice looks like you should never feel shame or feel that you aren’t “doing it right” because it doesn’t look like someone else’s.
Be Kind to Yourself
Finally, it is so important to be kind to yourself when you are new to your meditation practice. The more you get angry with yourself for “not doing it right” the less likely you are to be in the state of mind needed for a fulfilling practice. It’s a vicious cycle as our frustration leads to anxiety. Our anxiety morphs into shame and we’re quickly leaving the balanced and open state of mind that promotes meditation.
We can always learn from those who came before us. However, there is no need to follow what another person thinks a meditation practice should look like as though it is an unbreakable rule. Much like other areas of our lives following the path of others can quickly lead to frustration, burnout, and a feeling of not quite being fulfilled with what one is doing. Take the time to think about just what your path needs to look like for it to be a meaningful path to you.
Permit yourself to be flexible enough to notice when something isn’t working out for you so that you can come up with ideas that will. Maybe you can’t keep your mind from wandering on a given day. There’s no shame in using a guided meditation that gives your brain something to do. Maybe you can only spend 5 minutes when you usually do 10 or 20. Put on a good frequency or some nature sounds and sit for as long as you can.
No matter how long it takes to build up to your meditation goals your practice is still valid, and you are still getting benefit out of it as long as you are sticking with it regularly. Take time to journal with each meditation session if you can. What insights come to mind? There may even be insights you weren’t aware you had until you took the time to process it and put it to paper. How is your mental health? Are you feeling less stressed? Are you able to focus on things in your life more than before? After a few good weeks or months of meditation, you will almost definitely begin to see the beginnings of positive change.
Share Your Meditation Tips
Do you have a favorite meditation tip or hack to help with your daily practice? Leave us a comment and let us know! We love hearing things that our readers are doing to accommodate their spiritual life to their needs. You never know, one of our readers might find something to help themselves in your ideas too!