Set Realistic Expectations for Your Mindfulness Practice

If you think that mindfulness meditation is going to make you feel calm and relaxed and free of all problems, you’re going to have a hard time. When you first learn to drive, you don’t expect to be an expert after one lesson. Even after you pass the test, it takes years to become a good driver. Meditation, like any learning experience, takes time too. Have realistic expectations about meditation.

Here are ten realistic expectations to reflect on:

  • ‘My mind will wander around. This is what happens in meditation, even if it’s for a few breaths.’

  • ‘There’s no such thing as a good or bad meditation. It’s like when a small child does a scribble for drawing. It just is what it is.’

  • ‘Mindfulness isn’t about getting certain experiences. It’s about being with whatever arises moment to moment with acceptance.’

  • ‘I’ll sometimes feel calm and sometimes feel agitated and tense in meditation. With time, the calmness will increase.’

  • ‘Meditation is a long-term practice. I’ll gradually learn to let go of my expectations as I practice.’

  • ‘It may be difficult to motivate myself to practice every day, especially at the beginning. Some days I may forget to practice. That doesn’t mean I should immediately give up.’

  • ‘Sometimes I may feel worse after the meditation than before. This is part of the learning process that I need to understand.’

  • ‘I can never know how I’ve benefited from meditation. I can only practice every day and see what happens.’

  • ‘Even after years of meditation, I may sometimes feel I haven’t progressed. This isn’t a fact but an idea. Meditation works below conscious awareness and so I can’t know what’s happening there.’

  • ‘The more I practice, the easier it gets.’

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