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Dealing With Common Meditation Problems

There are many problems you might face in your practice. Some of the ones listed here are common when you first begin your meditation practice, while others may continue to bother even the most experienced meditators. We aim for, but do not achieve perfection in anything, after all. With that in mind, here are some of the common meditation problems you are likely to face, with a solution or a way to at least alleviate the worst effects of each.

Physical Discomfort

Floors are hard on your bottom, and sitting for long stretches can be painful. If you are at home you might use the largest couch cushion you have as a softer seat. If you meditate with others somewhere, you can bring a meditation cushion designed for the purpose (these can be pruchased online). Trying different positions is another option, but don't get so comfortable that you start to fall asleep when meditating.

Back Problems

If you really can't do a full or half-lotus position because of persistant back pain, sit in a chair instead. You also can try an entirely different practice, like walking meditation or lying down (but be careful with that one -- sleep is hard to avoid).


Some monks who have many years of practice can meditate just about anywhere with everything going on around them. But most of us will have to find a quiet place where there won't be any interruptions. Set up a corner in the basement or garage if necessary. Arrange your practice for times when the house is quiet too.

A Note on Usefulness - Some readers may wonder about the practicality of meditation. There are documented health benefits, but there are benefits most people might not consider as well, like developing the ability to remain calm in a turbulent situation. For example, you might be studying for a degree in dispute resolution. In your work as a mediator your calmness will keep tensions from building and help you to bring the two sides together in a way that works for both. There are many other jobs where you'll benefit from being able to take a deep breath and calm your mind. They include everything from simple sales positions to high-stress careers like police work and futures trading.

Wandering Mind

This is probably the most common problem people have with their meditation practice. And the more you try to force your mind to be quiet, the more it protests and wanders. You can expect this problem to persist for years, but the solution is just to keep bringing attention back to some point of focus. If you are doing a breath-watching meditation that means simple returning attention to your inhalations and exhalations. If you are doing a mantra meditation you go back to that mantra. There is no need for perfection in meditating; just keep returning attention where it needs to be.

If you really struggle with this, you can always try meditating using brainwave entrainment. These nifty recordings, which you can get on CDs or MP3 downloads, will guide you into a meditative state with very little effort. You just sit still and listen and the technology does the hard work for you.

Click Here for Information on Our Favorite Meditation Recordings

No Time

Not finding enough time for meditation is one of the most common problems for new practitioners. It seems that we all complain that we don't have time for this or that activity, but it's rarely true. We choose how to spend our time, and the more you acknowledge that, the more likely you are to make the necessary adjustments to your schedule to allow time for meditating. You also can learn to do two-minute mini-meditations throughout the day. Just relax, close your eyes, breathe deeply through your nose and then let your breathing fall into a comfortable pattern as you mentally observe it. You can fit these small sessions into almost any day, even if it means doing them when waiting for an appointment or sitting in the restroom.

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