When beginning a meditation practice, there is an unexpected barrier many face that keeps them from receiving the abundant benefits of meditation.
Of course, that barrier is procrastination.
Overcoming the resistance, you sometimes feel about actually sitting down to do the meditation, among other things.
In my own personal experience, I notice that the longer I go without meditation, the greater this resistance becomes. It’s like a void appears – a magnetic repulsion that develops and pushes you away from even the thought of meditation.
It’s an illusion that takes place, which makes it seem harder the longer you wait to sit down and meditate. When in reality, it’s still as easy now as it has always been.
And the opposite is true, too. That when you meditate more often, it gets easier and easier to meditate. You’ll sit down and still taste the last meditation in your mouth when you begin anew.
This positive momentum builds quick, and develops into a habit, which evolves into a lifestyle. Unfortunately, the same is true that if you avoid meditating too long it can develop a negative momentum, or a downward spiral, until the practice eventually falls out of your life.
I like to think that this void which develops is a tangible sensation – something you can feel and perceive. You know when it is there, and when it is gone. Like a mass of emotion, a hurdle of guilt, that can be surmounted to reach that place of positive momentum.
The interesting thing is, the secret to overcoming this hurdle of guilt does not actually include jumping over the hurdle at all.
It requires acknowledging that the hurdle exists, and accepting the fact that you’ve been procrastinating…
But the very last thing you must do, which is the secret to overcoming procrastination in all areas of your life, not just meditation, is the most crucial step…
And that final step is to forgive.
Self-forgiveness, for having procrastinated.
You must acknowledge the void, the hurdle…
Accepting the fact that you feel guilt, regret and resistance from not having taken action…
And forgive yourself for waiting to finally take action.
Studies have shown that the act of forgiveness reduces the ‘negative effect’ which I describe as the void and hurdle, which makes it easier to overcome, and reduces the occurrence of procrastination in the future for the given task.
This is possible, because instead of actually surmounting the hurdle that is procrastination, forgiveness allows you to forge a new path in a positive direction. So, you can leave behind the path of negative momentum, and take a side step towards your desired goal.
Effectively, forgiveness feeds the positive momentum that pushes you towards our goals, which starves the resistance that keeps you from taking action, until it completely fades away.
This reduces the feeling of being repelled that grows larger the longer you procrastinate on a given task, making it easier to finally sit down and do the thing you’ve avoided for so long.
Forgiveness is the remedy to the emotional disease of guilt and regret that has grown infected over time.
So, if you feel any resistance to sitting down and meditating, it is because you have not yet forgiven yourself for waiting this long to treat yourself well with meditation.
To help you with this, I am offering you an exercise in self-forgiveness.
Follow along mentally, and emotionally, as you read these next few lines and really feel the truth in these words. Believe them, and believe in yourself.
First, acknowledge any resistance that you feel towards meditating.
If it exists, it’s okay. It’s neither bad, nor good.
Accept that the resistance you feel is composed of guilt and regret for having procrastinated. And no matter how large it is, know that it can disappear just as easily as it appeared.
Realize that as large as the resistance has grown, it is only proof of how much you can be drawn to meditation, as you begin to grow in a more positive direction.
And know that as this positive momentum develops, it will become easier and easier to meditate, until the meditation never truly ends.
Take this time now to forgive yourself for procrastinating, and mean it.
Treat yourself as kind as you would treat a friend. Would you abuse your best friend if they’ve been procrastinating to do something they know is good for them?
No. You would support them, even encourage and join them in the act of forgiveness that would help them feel better.
So, treat yourself like you would treat a friend.
Feel the void disappear.
And know that you are ready to move on…
For the journey of meditation both short and long.
If you are interested in learning how to meditate, then I urge you to check out my book, ‘5-Minute Meditation’ by clicking on the tab ‘Book’ in the menu on this page.
So, you can begin your meditation practice to cultivate this self-forgiveness and overcoming procrastination in your life today.
Source cited: Bennett, S., Pychyl, T.A., & Wohl, M. (2009). The role of self-forgiveness for procrastinating in the prediction of future procrastination. Manuscript under review.