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.’