Ups and downs of meditation practice

It can be nice when the practice is pleasant, as this increases our motivation to keep doing it day after day. However, we can also get caught up in expecting each session to be equally delightful. This can set us up for disappointment since meditation has its ups and downs (sometimes it's downright unpleasant, and in fact, these times can be really valuable). Part of what we’re doing in our practice is cultivating the capacity to be with whatever comes up for us, and in this way, it’s important that we practice not only when it’s easy, but also when it’s hard. The trick is to just keep coming back to it, regardless of the weather outside (or inside 😄).

Our goal in mindfulness is to be present with whatever is arising in the moment with balanced attention. So while it can be helpful to be with unpleasant states of mind, if it’s overwhelming it’s very wise to back off. We suggest you experiment with some ways to bring more ease and space to your experience. When one has a difficult mind state, keeping the eyes open during a sitting is often helpful for maintaining balance. You can pay attention to something that is pleasant or rather neutral, like your breath, sound, a pleasant object in your environment. Try feeling the breath in a way that is calming and soothing. Or do something completely different like take a nice walk, especially in nature, if you can. Do not to push yourself past your current capacity. Over time through consistent meditation practice, your capacity will increase. 

Every situation is unique. If you’re having a difficult time with your meditation practice, consider reaching out to an experienced meditation teacher or coach for individual support.