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7 Reasons To Avoid Meditation

Life coach meditatingThere hasn’t been a huge change in the way I Life Coach now as opposed to when I first became certified back in 2005.

I tend to need less sessions with clients these days to help them achieve the results they want, but I think that’s just a product of experience and knowing if and when I can take short cuts.

Probably one difference is now I rarely skip talking to clients about meditation. I’m not evangelical about it and I certainly don’t want to push it (or anything else for that matter) on people who are totally resistant.

However, I’m keen to know whether clients practice or have ever considered practicing meditation.

I find most clients are at least somewhat curious, open-minded and interested in learning more about the process, but every now and then I get responses like the ones listed below and I know I’m up against it.

1. I Can’t See The Point

Well let me just tell you some of the benefits that are scientifically proven.

  • Improves mental health and can improve depression
  • Improves physical health
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Improves ability to deal with stress when it arises
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Improves satisfaction with life and thus happiness levels
  • Lengthens life

Can you see the point now, or do none of those things look attractive to you?

2. I Don’t Know How To Do It

You know how to breathe don’t you? Well you know how to meditate then.

  • Sit on the floor
  • Focus all your attention on your breath coming in and out of your nose
  • Wonder where the hell all those random thoughts just came from that weren’t there before
  • Re-focus on your breath
  • Rinse and repeat for the next 40 years

There are (probably) thousands of websites, many of which are free designed to help you with your meditation practice. Go and do a bit of research and maybe start off by checking out Wildmind

3. I Don’t Have Time

Firstly, you really do need to read my post A Big Fat Lie You Tell Every Day, because you absolutely do have time. You don’t have to block out an hour a day, even 10 minutes is far better than nothing.

In fact Buddhist teacher Bodhipaksa has a CD called “Guided Meditations For Busy People’ (al) and the longest meditation on there is less than 10 minutes.

So if you really think that’s all the time you can spare to get the benefits of #1 go and buy it.

Tell me you don’t want to make time for some other reason and that’s cool, it’s your decision. But please be aware of the real reason because you absolutely, positively, definitely, do have time!

Note: I will be happy to mail my copy of the Bodhipaksa CD mentioned above to the first person (presuming they live in the US) that leaves me a comment telling me they’ve never tried meditation but are prepared to commit to it for one month.

4. I Tried It Once And Nothing Much Happened

No shit? I have heard that, or something similar, on several occasions. It’s a little bit like saying I went to the gym once and when I got home and looked in the mirror I hadn’t developed a 6-pack.

Meditation is like the gym for your mind.

Even though I have had many clients who have seen very rapid benefits (within the last 2 weeks I have had 2 clients that felt great after one session). I have also had others that have taken a while longer before they started to see a discernible difference.

You have to commit. If you don’t want to commit, that’s cool, but let’s call a spade a spade, huh?

5. I Feel Silly

Lame, lame, lame!

Nobody is asking you to shave your head, don a saffron robe and sit in your front yard cross-legged chanting an Om meditation as people drive home from work.

If you feel self conscious do it at home, or go somewhere where nobody will see you. If you have family members that will laugh or ridicule you, refer them back to point #1 and then put an ad on Craigs List for a new family.

6. I Always Fall Asleep

Why do you think experienced meditators usually sit upright? Unlike self-hypnosis, meditation is active and not passive.

If you’re prone to nodding off at the drop of a hat, don’t do a lying down meditation!

Better still, and presuming you don’t suffer from narcolepsy, do a walking meditation. Yes, walking meditations really do exist and they’re really cool.

A lot of people prefer to meditate first thing in the morning because they are then less likely to fall back to sleep. I have to say I don’t like this, but I think I’m in the minority.

7 It’s Boring

Ironically I would say the more boring you find meditation the more you will benefit from it in the long run.

You’re bored because your mind is on a mission to make you bored and wants instant stimulation/gratification because that’s what you have trained it to want.

So let me know in the comments if you already meditate, if not, what’s stopping you, any of the above?



115 comments to 7 Reasons To Avoid Meditation

  • Lovely post, Tim.

    Lovin’ #4–it reminds me of doing intakes with psychotherapy clients. When I ask if they’ve visited a therapist before, I often get this response. When I ask how many sessions they attended (before drawing the conclusion that “nothing changed”), the number is usually less than two. So, basically less than 101 minutes to achieve the “mental six-pack.”

    That’s a feat Freud couldn’t achieve…

    Do I meditate? Hmmm…

    I practice mindfulness at least three times per day. Usually in the form of, “Okay, let’s keep things in the here and now. Today I can focus on….”

    Yes, it can be boring to sit with your thoughts. But I’ll take the lack of stimulation over an over-active central nervous system any day:).

  • Pete M

    Most misleading blog title in the world. I expect better from you Tim.

    • The purpose of the title was to promote interest because that is how blog posts get read. And if they don’t get read then I can’t help spread what I like to think is useful information.

      I make no apologies for using a title like that, I have done so in the past and I will again in the future.

      Lower your expectations of me, you don’t even know me ;-)

  • #3 is a classic, all-purpose rationalization. ;)

    What anyone who has meditated knows…taking 10, 20 or 30 min out of your day to meditate will so improve your focus and presence and productivity that I’ve found personally…I can’t afford NOT to make the time.

    Great post, Tim.

    • Thanks Lisa and you just made me think of the woodcutter stopping to sharpen his saw. Yes we may ‘lose’ 20 minutes meditating but we get that back in spades!

  • I do actually meditate in a lying down position because I can better visualize my chi flowing – yeah, it’s a martial arts thing. And you are right, have to be careful not to fall asleep so I don’t meditate if I’m already drowsy. But it’s a great way to get to sleep if I have to! The moving meditation can be tai chi or even slow martial arts too which I like.

  • Nailed it. That is all.


  • Ok, the Headline of the post got me. I was like, “Tim say it isn’t so that you’re against meditation.” lol.

    When I first started meditation seriously and consistently I actually had a CD years ago that walked me through body relaxation from head to toe. I used it for like the 1st 6 months. It was like training wheels for the mind. After that I stopped using it and am able to snap into that state pretty quickly (relaxing the body and mind from head to toe)

    I also make it a point to wake, pee and meditate. And in that order. I tried moving the order around but it never really worked well :)

    Oh and a little tip I mentioned in a post recently is to not only do 10 to 30 minutes in the a.m. but to do 10 minutes in the late afternoon. Great pick me up and re-energizes you for the rest of the day.

    Awesome post Tim.

  • Nice. This needs to be circulated.

  • Loved this! Who doesn’t have 10 minutes to improve their health and extend their life? Really!

  • The title is deceptive because I was thinking “why would you AVOID it? it’s a good thing!!”

    “Wonder where the hell all those random thoughts just came from that weren’t there before”
    But that’s the fun part!! I love coming up with whatever random shit passes through. I think of meditation like my incubation.. Solving problems.. increasing motivation.. decreasing stress.. people say that you’re not supposed to think or try not to, but my interpretation is you’re just suppose to accept the thoughts for what it is and then let them go. don’t attach; just observe. thoughts are normal in this process. I’ll also argue another benefit is that it makes you younger!! It’s a natural fountain of youth. People who meditate regularly don’t seem to look their age! i’ve done two meditation retreats so far. 4 months of zazen at a zen monastery… and 10 day silent vipassana retreat. i believe firmly that it has helped me in this next phase of my life starting a business!! oh, and i tried walking meditation too.. both at the monastery and when i did a 660km walk. :)

    • 660km walking meditation.

      Holy shit!!!!!

      I id a 10 minute one this morning whilst out with the dogs, but that’s amazing.

      And you’re right, meditators do have a tendency to look younger.

  • Dave Ellis

    I have never tried meditating and would be willing to give it a go for a month. If you still have it I would like to try the CD.

  • Tim introduced me to meditation a couple of years ago. I thought it was weird, I didn’t believe in it, I didn’t really want to do it.

    I am still doing it quite frequently, almost daily. It takes minimal time, and has sharpened my mind in so many ways. I have achieved so much in the few years since I met Tim, and I am only just beginning. Meditation is a big part of that.

    Think of the peace you can bring yourself! And this is coming from a defensive tactics instructor!

    • Mike may well be a defensive tactics instructor, but don’t let that fool you, he also wears a saffron robe and drinks wild organic fresh mountain spring water and eats a lot of lentils….probably.

      • In one swoop, Tim strikes down all of my street cred! Don’t tell them I am listening to Chopin as I’m typing this, nobody will take my tactical knife fighting class….

        Ooops… :)

  • I am not a fan of the ‘use a provocative headline to get pageviews’ approach to article titling, I only read this because I like what I’ve read of your articles, knowing the title was probably a contrary one.

    That said, the article itself is great – really covers everything one needs to know about meditation. Thanks for breaking it down and making it simple, Tim.

    • Steve, I’m not sure I’m a fan if I’m being honest. The problem is there are millions of blogs out there vying for readers.

      I spent 3 years doing the ‘right thing’ (for want of a better expression) such as not writing contrived headlines, not doing list posts, not being myself and playing it very much holier than thou and safe. It got me nowhere.

      My wife rammed it home to me a couple of years ago by asking me how important was it that I got my message over. And she was right in what she was insinuating, I was actually doing a disservice to myself and others if I thought I had stuff worth sharing and didn’t do my utmost to share it.

      So I make no apologies and as I said to Pete above I’ll keep on doing it, but I do get what you’re saying.

  • Jema

    Our preacher said recently “If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. If you have time to worry, you have time to meditate.” So true!

  • Great article, Tim! (Not sure why I said that as if it’s a big surprise to me…all your articles are supercalafragilisticexpialadosious! Please don’t criticize the spelling of that unless you can do better!)

    I did a couple of three day silent meditation retreats a few years ago, which…considering how I like to yack, were very useful and informative for me. It’s amazing how much things change for me when I shut up! It has informed and enhanced the work I do (and my awareness of what’s going on in my life) since then…

    Which brings me to another point…meditation is very good for letting us know the type of “mischief” we use to avoid, sabotage, and numb our experience of life the rest of the day after we are done meditating in the more formal sense. I think all of life could be lived in a meditative way (with awareness and acceptance) and we’d have a better world, not just when we are sitting on our butts looking like cute little buddhas!

    Thanks again, Tim!

    • Trust me I don’t ever look cute, more constipated than cute, but I agree the world would be a better place of we all meditated.

      Imagine if they taught it in schools!

    • Karen

      You almost have it! ;)

      Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Awesome word…glad someone else out there uses it.

      Awesome article!

      Thanks, Tim.

      • Best headline in newspaper history coming up!

        Celtic who are traditionally the best team along with Rangers in Scotland were playing a non-league team in a cup competition. Think New England Patriots taking on a High School team and you get the gulf in class.

        The team they were playing were called Caledonian Thistle, also nicknamed Callie by their supporters.

        To cut a long story short in one of the biggest upsets in Scottish football history Celtic lost and the headline ran the next day:

        Drum roll maestro please because it’s pretty amazing.

        Super Callie Go Ballistic, Celtic Were Atrocious!

        • Oh and btw, before anybody asks that is 100% true!

          • Karen

            Ah Tim, that has truly made my day! I’m a simple soul really … puns will do it for me every time. The sub-editor for that one should get a medal. It definitely beats my other favourites – “Boy hit by train … taken to two hospitals”, “Collette – grand old lady of French letters” and the classic wartime headline “Macarthur flies back to front”. Thank you for this new and worthy newsworthy addition.

  • That would be awesome! Much more urgent than math, I think!

  • Tim – great tips on why meditation is both healthy and important. I don’t practice this enough but I do get some opportunities to sit and ponder and clear my mind.

    When time is short I like to do an altered meditation while shaving or showering in the morning. I have just a few minutes to clear my mind and reflect on my day and current state of mind. I find it really energizes me for the day and helps me be more productive.

    Thanks for the great reminder.

    • That’s a great idea and I try and remember to do the same thing when in the shower. Rather than just thinking about the day ahead, concentrating on the shower itself.

  • Alex Geoghegan

    I have two excuses why I don’t mediate regularly:
    - I’m not very good at it (similar to #7 but also a bad excuse for the same reasons)
    - 18yrs ago I tried regular meditation with a group, which worked really well until it became obvious that they were trying to “recruit” me and they managed to spook me quite severely
    The real reason is that I don’t make time regularly – about once a month I’ll treat myself to 30 minutes of me time meditating. The rest of the time I don’t prioritise it.
    Also my partner has a very negative attitude to meditation (coloured by the group from 18yrs ago and his fear if losing me to them) which doesn’t help me make the time unless he’s out.
    But I know it’s a great thing to do and I’d be better off if I dud make the time – thanks for the reminder.
    And for what it’s worth I liked your title and expected nothing different from the post.

    • Oh dear, that’s the kind of story that is sad because there are always people looking to force their beliefs on others. OTOH is was rather a long time ago and I’m sure they wont spirit you away if you do it a bit moire often.

      Maybe show the post to your BF?

  • Tim, do you use LSD (light & sound device) for any of your meditation? For those that have the “falling asleep” issue that can help since the active lights keep the eyes engaged.

  • Great article, Tim. I love that a “no bullshit” guy is encouraging meditation. So often people think meditation is only for airy-fairy types. So not true!

    Regular meditation (and by that I mean just 10-20 minutes several days a week) has very practical benefits, as you point out in #1. What I find that meditation – either silent or guided – does for myself and my clients is to increase clarity, focus and productivity – WHILE increasing peace of mind and general life satisfaction. And yes, those are interrelated, and chicken vs. egg things. And all worth pursuing.

  • I’ve been wanting to try meditation for awhile, but just haven’t done it. No real excuse. Just a matter of saying I will and then, um, forgetting.

    I’ve been looking at Bodhipaksa’s stuff. He’s so very helpful and nice too. I also watched a few of Tara Brach’s videos. I don’t know if there’s a lot of difference in their styles. Maybe it doesn’t matter!

    Thanks for the kick in the butt. :)

  • Rob Collins

    Thanks for the reminder Tim. Recently I feel like Michael Knight in Knight Rider, having his foot to the floor on the accelerator whilst holding down KITT’s Turbo Boost button for about 3 weeks solid, bits of the car falling off, Michael’s beautifully permed hair blasted off his scalp when the roof came flying off, and deafening a troupe of old grannies with the sonic boom.

    I know meditation’s helped me in the past, I’ve just not prioritised it. So tomorrow I’m going to ‘Wake, Pee, Meditate’ tomorrow. And maybe take KITT to the repair shop and get some new shoulder pads.

  • I think Tony should copywrite ‘Wake, Pee, Meditate’ or at least by the domain.

    Knight Rider? Seriously?

  • I’ve been trying to meditate every day for the past month as part of the 1Month1Challenge website ( I’ve done some hard things in my life but meditating is hands down the hardest.

    • Or maybe it’s the easiest?

      You can’t get it wrong.

      You may be not satisfied with the results, and you may get frustrated because you can’t shut your thoughts up, but that’s another story mate!

      • Intellectually I know I can’t “get it wrong” but when I’m sitting there thinking and catching myself thinking about butterflies or what I’m going to eat for dinner it’s hard to not get frustrated. I imagine that fades the more I do it and the “better” I get at it.

    • Rob Collins

      Sam, have you tried both focussing on your breath *and* reciting words over and over? I find it helps me stay focussed. I like to say, “Relax” over and over on the out-breaths, and, “Energy” on the way in.

      • John Selby who is a psychotherapist and meditation guru, suggests what Rob says Sam. That if you can concentrate on 2 things at once your mind has to shut up because it’s busy with other stuff and that is why chanting meditations can be so useful.

  • Interesting.

    I have read about it. I have tried it many times. But really haven’t got the hang of it, I guess. :)

    I fall in to the ‘weight lifting’ category you mention. I have read about so many benefits to it. But have yet to come across any of my own. Too many great testimonials out there to prevent me from thinking that meditation isn’t worth-while. I believe 100% that it is me that is in error.

    I’ll give it another shot ;)

  • Great post Tim and a good prompt for those who haven’t ventured into meditation as yet.

    I chant each night for about 20 minutes and if for any reason I don’t fit it in, I really miss it and feel like I’ve missed a major part of my day. It really helps me to clear the days energy away, let those random thoughts come through and then clear them to set me up for a good nights sleep.

    I am intending to implement the wake.pee.mediate plan as well when I change my current daily routine. I can’t wait to have more energy and focus for each day.

  • Rob Collins

    Did 10 mins meditation last night as I drifted off. Had a brilliantly relaxing sleep. Yay!

  • Karen

    I used all the above excuses until I put a simple thought in place – don’t make a big thing out it. All those teachers who insist that you must find a quiet ‘special’ place, set up for meditation only, do not help. Yes, its nice to have that and there can be a different quality to your practice. However, you can do meditative practices anywhere, anytime. Martial arts taught me that …

  • I bought a summer pass to the yoga loft and have been attending meditations. I love it. After nearly three months I still have difficulty emptying my mind, however during meditation is when I get all my best ideas.

  • Noah

    Hey, I’m definitely one of those people who keeps meaning to try it but never gets around to it. I’ve drifted off into a meditative sleep twice, years ago when I was trying to do it, but I haven’t attempted since. I’m up for the 30day trial, and if no one has requested the CD from you I would really appreciate the opportunity. I can also definitely return it to you with no problem. Either way, good post!

  • I enjoyed reading this post. You did a good job on explaining why we should stop making excuses when it comes to meditation.

  • Good question! Gonna try it on weekend.

  • Alex Geoghegan

    Ok so I’ve now re-engaged with meditation, and set aside time to do it three days in a row, and it relaxing, but stupid question coming up (yes I know it’s my conscious mind asking the question), what am I actually trying to do/achieve by meditating?

    I understand the end goal (improve health, reduce stress etc), but I feel a bit like the Southpark underpants gnomes, who claimed to be business experts, and explained their three phase business plan as: 1) Collect Underpants, 2) ?, 3) Profit. I feel like I’m missing a step in the middle, but maybe that’s where I jut need to trust my sub-conscious to take care of it, and stop analysing things too much.

    Tim – any thoughts?

    • Isn’t the end game the point?

      Actually people that teach this stuff would say not, it’s just a positive side effect. The experience is the point.

      As John Kabat-Zin says in (I think) “Wherever you go, there you are” there is no point to meditation, there is no reason to do it other than because you can. And that’s an outrageous paraphrase btw.

      Clearer? ;-)

  • Interesting post, Tim. I’ve tried meditation a few times and didn’t really connect with it. I do, however, practice Bikram Yoga regularly (2-4X per week), and have found that it has very meditative qualities and benefits for me. The concept is the same- I spend 90 minutes focusing on my breath, while also challenging my body in a hot room. But the goal of the class is first and foremost the breath. What do you think.. does this count as meditation?

  • Meditating before checking email every morning is extremely difficult, I’ll have you know. This daily strain on my willpower is all your fault. :)

    So far, I’ve made it to 8 minutes. I’m quite proud of this, actually (nobody laugh). I do notice that I feel more relaxed and since mornings tend to cause the most anxiety for me, I have the feeling it will be very helpful in the long run.

    Thanks, Tim!

  • Dude… great post…. really well explained & very motivating too. Actually gonna go and have a meditation now.

    And, yeah, don’t listen to the naysayers, it’s a fucking great title, it got people reading and inspired, and it just wouldn’t have done that if you’d called it “Meditation is good for you”, or something.

    It amazes me how pissed off people can get over the slightest of things. HOW

    • Ooops… I was gonna say:


      Haha. People make me laugh.

      In short, great post, and keep being provocative with the titles, it gets everyone clicking and GETTING THE VALUE!! Nice one. x

    • People make me laugh too mate and if blogging has taught me anything it’s not to take this shit personally, because it never is.

      Now the stuff happening on Salty Droid at the moment, THAT”s personal!

      Good to see you back here mate, it’s been to long

  • Lonnie

    Great post, Tim!

    I teach meditation at every given opportunity. I’ve taught meditation to all of my clients. I’m a Hypnotist and a Stress Management Consultant.

    I’ve personally practiced meditation for the past 20 years. Dedication was weak at the beginning – I was a teenager – but as I’ve grown older it has been a part of my daily life. There is always time.

    Great title as well! You systematically knock down the most common excuses I’ve encountered, and you did it with great information while being entertaining.

    Bravo sir!

    Best Regards,


  • Well stated and with glorious timing

  • Thank you for this wonderful article. I have meditated on and off for over 30 years. I have experienced all of the wonderful benefits from meditation but have stopped my morning practice because of my hectic life. You have inspired me to get back on tract with this life affirming practice.

  • I can not do sitting on the floor meditation – so I use a straight backed chair…but my favorite of all is when I am holding poses in Yin-Yoga for 5 minutes at a stretch!

    Acupuncture and meditation can give me nearly 4 hours of complete pain relief….awesome when one is in pain 24/7

    Great post…and of course I adore the drawings!

    • I’m the same Patricia. Dodgy knees and two discs missing and another bulging mean sitting on the floor is agony after about 5 minutes. I actually have to support most of my back, but as long as you don’t know off, that’s cool!

  • Rosemary

    I’m going to look past the glib, tongue-in-cheek tone of this article and give it a serious answer. It’s clear from the way you phrased it that you believe all of the “reasons” to be silly baseless excuses, and those who offer them, slackers. I challenge you to look beyond this facile assumption.

    An 8th reason to avoid meditation is because meditation teachers have made it difficult to impossible, by putting forth as necessities cultural requirements that are beyond many Western people’s capability.

    There is a hint of this in the cartoon illustration. The man’s legs are folded into a lotus position. How many people are loose-jointed enough to achieve this?

    My own experience: I showed up for an advertised lesson in a Shambhala center. Nice, gentle, middle of the road meditation school, aimed at Western newbies, right? I was taught to hold my back at THIS exact angle, my chin tilted just SO, my head and neck just SO, shoulders back, arms just SO, hands resting on thighs. Only problem was, it was physically impossible to do all at once. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my arms were too short; my hands couldn’t find a stable perch.

    After awhile, I told the man I was getting a charley horse. He said it was probably my body reacting to the new experience of relaxation. (Relaxation?!!) And that I should keep at it. I figured this experienced teacher had to know what he was talking about, right? Certainly he wouldn’t have told me to hold myself in such an exacting position if such exactitude weren’t absolutely necessary, would he?

    It took years of digging online, but I finally found a meditator — Bodhipaksa, in fact — who acknowledged the reality of the problem, the occasional need for additional support for the arms, and gave practical advice on how to do it. Should I have known this ahead of time? Why didn’t the teacher?

    So much for that painful and frustrating attempt, which put me off meditation for years.

    There is another hint of this manufactured difficulty in your “2. I Don’t Know How To Do It.” You start with the minimizing claim, “You know how to breathe, don’t you? Well, you know how to meditate then.” (Easy peasy, right?) First instruction you offer is “Sit on the floor.” Much later, you admit you, yourself, can’t sit on the floor unsupported without pain. Then why say it, even in jest?

    I think perhaps there should be a rule for meditation teachers: “Screen everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, for bullshit. If even one step of one rule is unnecessary, discriminates against a body type, or is disproportionally difficult for someone, LEAVE IT OUT.” Another should be, “Pay attention to whether or not your method works. If many people drop out, don’t assume it’s their fault. Ask for feedback.”

    A 9th reason is that meditation schools unwittingly teach people to emulate monks instead of householders. Monasteries have been indispensable because that is where the teaching grew; unfortunately, they also tended to foster submissive, detached, self-hating, anti-life attitudes.

    Lorin Roche has a great deal to say about this on his website, lorinroche dot com, and in his book, “Meditation Made Easy.” He has helped me understand why meditation has been hard for me, and helped me overcome roadblocks.

    Frankly, I don’t think non-meditators or non-perseverers in meditation merit the tone you use here. They blow it off because they find it hard. They find it hard because it’s been presented by teachers as unnecessarily hard; that may be accidental, or for the purpose of preserving cultural mystique, gathering disciples, or lining pockets.

    • Thanks for the challenge Rosemary.

      Now I challenge you to get a sense of humor, stop wasting time writing comments to bloggers who are obviously won’t take you seriously and stop looking for things to whine about.

      Quite frankly I don’t give a crap what you think about me. I want people here who get my sense of humor, get that I’m trying to help people (for free) and don’t feel some urge to try and control me and tell me what to write.

      Now go and do the Metta Bhavana and send me some livingkindness. You’ll feel much less indignat and stressed after.

      • Rosemary

        You know something?

        You’re right.

        My post was over-the-top. Furthermore, I believe I was rude to you, for which I apologize.

        I feel strongly about the topic because of the roadblocks put between me and meditating, and because I see the same roadblocks put in the way of other people. I don’t believe we are that much a minority. But, it’s possible you don’t see it that way.

        I probably misconstrued your whole purpose for this post. Despite the light tone, I sensed honest puzzlement: “Why don’t more people meditate? It’s so easy and brings so many benefits; aw, come on, what’s the problem?” I sensed that you were asking a serious, adult, even professional question. I answered you.

        But I know that quite often people ask rhetorical questions, and their purpose is not to get information, but to vent. Or make conversation with their friends. And that’s perfectly okay.

        • Rosemary, I appreciate the apology, thanks.

          BTW, if you click the books tab and then on ‘free stuff’ you can download my free ebook on meditation.

          Even Bodhipaksa gave it the thumbs up!

  • John

    I’ve been moderately interested in meditation for a while now, but my natural impatience and results-oriented outlook (both of which, by the way, are a product of ADHD, which I had for 40 years before I was diagnosed) has made me reluctant to start, for several reasons.

    First of all, I never quite bought the claims about its benefits, as it all seemed to be based on anecdotes. I mean, if “Everybody who does it says it works” is such a fantastic reason, well, hey, everybody who does Scientology says it works, too.

    Secondly, painfully inexact statements such as “Everyone has a different experience” or “It works differently for everybody” increase my reluctance to “just do it”.

    This should give you a general idea of why I thought this post was totally amazing. At last, someone down-to-earth is using simple, clear, honest, direct language to explain this.

    Unfortunately, your post doesn’t address my biggest fear with regard to meditation: While I’m waiting for it to start working, there’s no way for me to know if I’m wasting my time or not.

    The part that bugs me is #4; specifically, “Even though I have had many clients who have seen very rapid benefits (within the last 2 weeks I have had 2 clients that felt great after one session). I have also had others that have taken a while longer before they started to see a discernible difference.”

    How long is “a while”?

    There is no straight answer to this question in any of the books or websites I’ve explored. Please tell me you have one.

    Seriously now: If I do this *every* morning, what’s the maximum amount of time I’ll have to wait before I “see a discernible difference”?

    • I can answer that if you can answer me this:

      How long will you meditate for?
      How deep will you go into a meditative state?
      How exactly is your brain wired up?

      I doubt you know the second two, so it’s impossible to know.

      Forget anecdotal stories and research the hard peer reviewed scientific evidence of which there is in science speak, a shit load and then some.

      Seriously John, if you want to do it, do it. If you don’t don’t.

      • John

        1. Between 20 minutes and an hour, depending on what my schedule is like that day.
        2. I don’t know because I’ve never done it before.
        3. The same as everyone else’s. If I went to a brain surgeon, I’m sure he’d find everything is where it’s supposed to be.
        4. I’ll give you two re-phrasings. (a) In your experience, what’s the most amount of time it’s taken for someone to notice a difference? (b) Complete this sentence: If you do it every morning for 20 minutes to an hour and you still don’t notice a difference after (insert time period here), you’ll know for sure that it’s not working.
        5. I don’t know whether I want to do it or not: that’s why I’m trying to find out what I’m letting myself in for.

        • You’re brain isn’t wired up the same as everybody elses’s at all, there are trillions (probably an infinite amount actually) of different ways it can be wired up.

          You’re letting yourself in for sitting quietly every day and calming your mind. That’s it.

          Go and read Buddha Brain which takes a scientific look at meditation. Or maybe Mind over Medicine which although is more about overall health takes a close look at meditation and its incredible benefits.

        • Fabiana

          1. That’s probably too much to start with. If you start with 10 minutes, it’s easier to feel like you aren’t wasting your time if it’s only 10 minutes (while you’re skeptical about it), for a few days. I think most people don’t do more than 30 minutes unless they are experts.
          2. But you’ll probably go into deeper meditation with practice.
          3. I’m not going to answer that.
          4. You’ll probably want to continue doing it if you have a positive experience, or get better at it. It’s not about forcing yourseld to do it, although scheduling/doing it every day at the same time helps to build a habit. Maybe there is no straight answer to how long you will see difference, so consider just *deciding* to try it for two weeks. Or a month. And then recommit or drop it.
          What if you feel a slight difference, and then a bigger difference, and then just enjoy it or how it makes you feel? Just think, it might work. That’s a fact right? it’s a possibility at the very least. Testing it won’t be a waste of time. Being too skeptical will only hinder you by the way. If you think “it might work/ help” and have NO other expectations of how it’s supposed to be or supposed to work, you’ll find how it affects YOU without preconceived notions, it’s better that way.
          5. You can inform yourself as much as you want before making the decision, but it’s really up to you.

    • “How long is “a while”?” It’s exactly 33 days four hours and six seconds, no one in the world has ever taken longer than that so if you pass that period and there’s no difference you must be an alien.

  • John

    Nicely sidestepped.

    • John, I’m, a fucking Life Coach, not the Dalia Lama or a neuroscientist.

      I had the good grace to respond to your questions on a 2 year old blog post even though in reality you can’t be arsed to do your own proper research, because if you had you’d know there is no way of answering the questions you have asked without guessing.

      You want quick wins and assurances, but guess what, life doesn’t tend to offer those.

      Stop blaming your ADHD (I have been diagnosed with it too!), take some responsibility for your life and just fucking do it and see what happens.

      What’s the worst that can happen?

  • Love Tim’s response, especially the “Stop blaming your ADHD…” part.

    You have to at least TRY to improve, folks. Sheesh.

  • I found this last night after working on meditating a couple of weeks and it was a huge help! I also ordered Deepak Chopra’s meditation track….thanks for the wonderful resources. You, my friend, are one bad-ass life coach!

  • LP

    John, your current attitude and mindset, if anything, are going to be the things that hold you back from reaping any positive result of meditation.

    Get out of your own way.

    Btw, I read a quote from Zen Buddhism recently that said something to the effect of ‘meditate for 20 minutes each day and if you’re too busy and don’t have time for that, then meditate for an hour.’

  • Claire

    just have a go!

  • Damian

    I have a sixteen point rebuttal to a 10 year old blog post, I DEMAND you take the time and attention to address each and every point to my satisfaction.

    For this I am willing to continue paying the grand total of $0.

    Start answering NOW!


    • Yes sir!

      I’m on it, I have blocked out Tuesday and Wednesday to work on it.

      Is that ok?

      If you do really need it now I can cancel my clients today, just let.

  • A serious response to John because I actually don’t want any more people jumping on him.

    You can either think everybody is on your case and I’m a total tool. Or you can take the criticism as valuable feedback and make changes accordingly.

    There are no guarantees with meditation, but as I said before if you haven’t found the scientific proof then you haven’t really looked.

  • In my experience (about 30 years of experimentation with various forms of meditation) the interesting thing about meditation is actually trying out which type works for you.

    Discovering how you internally represent the world – pictures, sounds, feelings or self talk – will give you a clue to what might work for you. Being highly kinaesthetic (feeling preference) I tend to find concentrating on my breath to be the most effective form for me.

    You may find chanting or focusing on an internal image better for you.

    Perhaps the main thing that gets in the way is thinking you are doing it wrong or beating yourself up for losing focus. The best thing is to just be aware of that and gently take yourself back to your preferred practice.

    There are usually no ‘fireworks’ when you meditate. You may have visions, or hear sounds or you might not notice anything at all.

    It’s not a science, it’s an art which is personal to each and everyone of us. Therefore we will experience it differently. The outcome is a more relaxed mind. And if the mind is relaxed … the body relaxes and we lose tension. Tension is what prevents nutrients and oxygen getting to the cells and toxins being carried away.

    So meditation is beneficial to maintain optimum health.

    Thanks for the useful reminders Tim. Sometimes we forget what is good for us.

  • Who was it that said, “if you think you can, or you think you can’t: you’re right!” ??

  • “Perhaps the main thing that gets in the way is thinking you are doing it wrong or beating yourself up for losing focus. The best thing is to just be aware of that and gently take yourself back to your preferred practice.

    Nailed it!