Being Uncomfortable With the Silence in Meditation

Meditation can get uncomfortable. Difficult thoughts and feelings can come up. Some people are terrified of feeling the feelings. 

Sometimes this is the reason people aren’t comfortable with yoga and meditation. It’s difficult to distract ourselves (with the phone, with outside “shiny objects”,) and when the discomfort arises in meditation, it turns people off. But this is the practice! The practice of letting things come up and sitting with them. Ugh! This can be so difficult!

We are looking for ways to escape the uneasy feelings so we grab onto something. In meditation, silence can be a great teacher. When we’re meditating in silence, the things that come up can be “flashes of a memory”, a regret, a plan, a panic, remembering something that you forgot to do yesterday, and the list can go on forever. 

Pema Chodron, a Buddhist teacher, has a fantastic book, “When Things Fall Apart”. Seriously, y’all. Get this book! This book has been a constant reference for me and I continue to refer to it frequently as a reminder that life has all kinds of ups and downs. She reminds us that uncertainty, loneliness, the feeling that something is lacking, and the feeling that everyone else has it all together except for us is all a part of life.

Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like crap and not be squeamish about taking a good look at this feeling. This is the most compassionate thing that we can do. That’s the brave thing to do. Explore anything that comes up. There is no need to be afraid. 

She says, “we cannot just jump over ourselves like we’re not there. It’s better to take a look at all of our hopes and fears. Then, some kind of confidence in our basic sanity arises.”. 

Are you avoiding being with yourself by avoiding meditation?