I have meditated on buses when the body odors around me were overpowering. I have meditated in bed with tissues, completely thrown by a cold.
What I've learned is that meditation doesn’t have to be saved for those times when everything gets quiet and perfect, because—let’s be honest—those times rarely come.
Still, I have noticed that there are some situations that make meditation difficult, if not impossible. Approaching a meditation practice with one of these roadblocks may be akin to shooting yourself in the foot. You can meditate! Just make sure that you're not in one of the following situations:
1. You're wearing tight or uncomfortable clothing.
Even if you're lying down, if your jeans are digging into your hips, or if a label is scratching your neck, that's likely to be what you'll focus on. Get comfortable, or even get naked. Whatever floats your boat.
2. You are flat-out exhausted.
There is nothing wrong with choosing to sleep or nap if your body is calling for it. But if every time you have tried to meditate you've fallen asleep, you haven’t yet meditated. Meditation is a wakeful practice where we see more of who we really are.
3. You are stuffed.
If your belly is rumbling, it will not allow for peace of mind. You don’t have to go into meditation hungry, but give yourself some space to breathe ... literally.
4. You're doubtful meditation will work.
Doing meditation because everyone else is doing it will not work. If you are sitting down on your mat thinking, Yeah right, this is going to work, your inner hippie will die. Just kidding! But doubt will block you from enjoying the practice. Release your questioning mind.
5. You have unrealistic expectations.
If you come into the meditation expecting to do lotus position when you haven’t stretched since kindergarten, it will be uncomfortable, to say the least. Also, if you're expecting to feel divine bliss, a sense of inner calm will go unnoticed. Let it be what it is. That is what meditation is all about.
My advice? Go easy on yourself. One estimate is that in a 30-minute meditation session we'll have at least 300 thoughts. We don’t have to be mindless when we meditate. The purpose is to be mindful. Nothing else.