Although coming across obstacles when meditating may seem like a barrier that is holding you back or stopping you from progressing on your journey, obstacles can be an opportunity to explore these experiences to discover a new way of working with meditation. So rather than thinking of them as obstacles we could look at them as special messages that guide you towards inner wisdom and self-acceptance.
If you look at meditation in this way, when you do have a day when everything seems to be going wrong, you feel unable to focus, negative thoughts keep arising, aches and pains start to interfere or your mind is full of busy thoughts, just remember that if you accept these experiences with an open mind and total awareness, you may find that although the meditation itself was uncomfortable and less enjoyable than a good day, you will still feel more relaxed and happier than when you started.
Feeling tired after a busy day can be one thing that stops us meditating, maybe you feel overwhelmed, you’ve got too much to do when you get in, or you have too much on your mind to think about meditating. But this is just your mind beginning to resist and put up a fight against your practice, this is something you can overcome.
Alternatively you may genuinely be extremely tired and feel that when you close your eyes you just want to go to sleep. Instead of giving up, perhaps you can focus for a moment on where you feel tired, is it your body? are you physically tired? Or is it your mind? do you just feel mentally exhausted?. Perhaps relaxing the body and meditating for 5 minutes would help these feelings. However if you haven’t been sleeping well and you are genuinely exhausted its probably best to have a rest and get the sleep you need.
A lot of thoughts can arise when trying to meditate, it may start with feeling a sense of boredom, perhaps you are so used to constant stimulation, when you sit down quietly you think “oh I can’t do this it’s boring”, this is just one of many doubts that cross your mind. You may find other excuses arising e.g “What’s the point of sitting here, my mind is far too busy”, “I can’t do this, I think I should try something else”, or perhaps you can’t seem to find a quiet space where you are not distracted. This is the mind’s way of trying to stop us meditating, so we need to find ways to overcome them or make a change to our routine so that meditation does fit in with our daily life. Perhaps try getting up a little earlier in the morning so you can start your day in a quiet space meditating, or build it into your usual routine standing in the shower and being totally aware or just start with a couple of minutes of breath awareness and gradually increase the time spent on this until you have a regular meditation practice.Building up to a regular practice by building meditation into your everyday routine can help you overcome the obstacles your mind creates and allow you to make positive changes in your life.