Clients frequently come to me complaining that no matter how hard they try to meditate, they just can't seem to do it. We all know that meditation is good for us, that it is a wonderful spiritual practice. However, many people try it and give up after a short time because they can't sit for long periods of time or clear their minds. They feel like they're just not cut out to practice meditation. They feel like a "spiritual failure".

I frequently notice that these people are quite busy in their lives and have active minds. That is to say, they are not coming from a super grounded place to begin with. When someone who is working mainly out of their mental field tries to meditate, they come into contact with a flood of thoughts and mental activity, which can be quite uncomfortable. Popular culture would tell us that you just sit down in a cross legged position and "clear your mind", which creates a blissful existence. It often seems like a cruel joke when the people who need it the most try it and see that it's not that easy. To them, it actually seems like they're going in the wrong direction. However, that couldn't be further from the truth.

I suggest that my clients begin with a more attainable practice, such as walking meditation or short but frequent periods of meditation (1 minute 5 times per day). That helps to slowly retrain the nervous system to tolerate a calmer, more receptive state. Think of it this way. If you were driving a 747 jet on a cross country flight, you wouldn’t just put the breaks on and assume you could come to an immediate stop without serious discomfort occurring. Well, when your nervous system is on high alert, you need to gradually bring it down to a point where you can sit for longer and longer periods of time with comfort and ease.

There is no need to feel like a failure. Meditation is something that can be learned and is best done when you commit to a regular practice. And meditation is not about willing yourself to be still and feeling uncomfortable in a militant way. The goal is to be with what is in the moment, and to be compassionate with whatever you find. Then when you can do that during your sitting practice, you can begin to bring that sense of inner peace and compassion into everything you do.

Author's Bio: 

Mary Riposo received her PhD in Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University. She is a NY State Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified School Psychologist. Mary has also completed training in a variety of healing modalities; she is an Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, Polarity Therapist, Soul Realignment Practitioner, and Divinely Guided Life Coach. She owns and runs the Center for Integrated Energy Healing, which offers energy healing sessions, transpersonal counseling, intuitive readings, intuitive development training, and Reiki certification classes. She has written a book, "Using Reiki with Children: A Guide for Parents and Professionals," which is available through her website. For more information, go to