There are many reasons why we don't do things that we know are good for us. When I first was exposed to meditation, at about 19 years of age, I was working on my first academic degree. I had begun studying the positive effects of meditation. My exposure to meditation was very scientific, very medical. I learned how meditation was good for your heart, your stress levels and just overall good for your health. I would describe it all in very scientific and medical descriptions exclusively.
While I knew it was good for me to meditate I wasn't overly concerned with keeping my blood pressure down and such. I was a typical 19 year old student and didn't worry about "long term effects". Luckily, I did enjoy the benefits of meditation from the very beginning; however, I think that what I didn't realize at the time that I wasn't meditating regularly because I didn't make the time to meditate. While I enjoyed meditating I was "too busy" to take the time out regularly to practice it. I basically practiced meditating intermittently and not on a consistent basis.
What changed for me was when, years ago, I started meeting people who had been meditating for a very long time. These people shared with me the positive effects of growth with meditation. They explained that meditation was a good way to grow emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. Once I understood that meditation was far more than just a good idea for "medical/physical" reasons, I realized that I had to start practicing regularly myself. Having been intrigued with "growth" since I was very young, I knew this was my path. Immediately, I got a book on meditation and began studying and practicing regularly. I started meditating every day, twice a day because growing while I'm here on this planet is very important to me and always has been.
I think that one thing that can really help anyone with meditating on a regular basis is to find that "reason" you meditate. If you don't have a real drive or reason for meditating, other things become a priority before meditating. If making money, going out, socializing, working, and such all take priority in your life you will find yourself making time for these things while making it harder to find the time for meditation. If you see that meditation provides far more than just medical benefits, that it increases your happiness, your spiritual well-being and so much more, you will find that these are the real reasons to make time to meditate.
I think another thing that keeps many of us from meditating is that meditation, at first, can be difficult. When we first start out it can sometimes be hard for our minds to go into a stillness. It can be a challenge to sit and quiet our minds in the beginning. It takes practice to get to the point where we can sit still, not fidget and bring our minds to a peaceful stillness of meditation. I find that often, the solution to this problem is using a "Guided Meditation". You can utilize my own guided meditations online, my audio CD or utilize several other places that offer both free or paid guided meditations. I have found that people who are beginning and use guided meditations have an easier time learning how to meditate and truly bring yourself into the quietness you need. You may also find that you prefer guided meditations or meditating with others. It's much like learning how to ride a bike; once you have training wheels you can take off easily and learn the tricks to go off by yourself eventually.
That brings me to another reason why some people don't continue to meditate; some people don't like to be alone. What I mean by that is that, it's not that they dislike being by themselves as much as they dislike being by their emotional selves. When you meditate you get to learn about you and what's inside of you. Things come up which you may have ignored emotionally for a long time. You may find there are things you need to work on emotionally; things that have been hidden in the corner of your mind and need to be brought out, dusted off and healed. I highly suggest meditation as a way of finding out if there are things that you need to work out emotionally within yourself. Sometimes being faced with this can provoke a person to step away from meditation because they don't want to face these emotions,but I cannot stress enough how important it is to work through these feelings and thoughts using meditation techniques. I think you will find yourself less stressed and more relaxed once you approach these issues using meditation.
If you do find that you have things come up while you're meditating, make sure that you take time to heal them. If you have wounds from the past or something that requires some healing it's important to get that healing and meditating can be a good process in helping the healing process. Many people utilize meditation in conjunction with therapy, something I encourage when you have things that need to be healed. Meditation is an excellent barometer to let you know how you're doing in your healing process because if you can be still and present with yourself then you're doing pretty well.
Another reason I think people struggle with meditation is simply discipline. Many people have trouble with disciplining themselves to make the time to meditate. In the same way that many people won't make the time to take care of their physical self at the gym regularly; people often won't make the time to take care of their emotional and spiritual self by taking the time to meditate. There's no question, it takes discipline to meditate. You have to set aside time each day to meditate and that's why I encourage people to have a discipline of meditating when they first get up and when they go to bed at night.
An easy way to discipline yourself is to set your morning alarm 30 minutes early to meditate in the mornings and go to bed 30 minutes before your normal bedtime so you can meditate before you go to bed. It's easier to set aside that time in the beginning and end of each day, as opposed to trying to fit it in between a busy schedule. You will find that if meditation is important to you, you will set aside that time you need to practice it. It doesn't matter when it is, as long as it works for you. I suggest the morning and bedtime meditation process because this seems easiest for people to fit into their schedules. Once you start doing this regularly, you will find yourself looking forward to these 30 minute periods you have set aside just for you.
I'd like to encourage you to utilize our online podcasts for meditation to help you become disciplined and take the time to meditate. With the help of our podcasts we can help you find the wonders, the beauty and the true bliss of meditation.
Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a meditation expert, international speaker and the creator of the weekly Meditation For Health Podcast