That’s it. I’m done with trying to meditate. It’s too hard and I just can’t do it. First of all I don’t know what posture I’m supposed to be sitting in. I’m probably doing that wrong. I can’t even sit still for thirty seconds without shifting my position, which can’t be good. I can never remember how I’m supposed to breathe. Do I hold for a count after the inhale or after the exhale? And this abdominal breathing business—I’ve never really understood that. I’ve tried emptying my mind of all the worries and focusing on just one thing and that’s a total joke. Trying to meditate is making me feel more upset and inadequate than I did before I started.

More ranting

I don’t even like the word, ‘meditating.’ It sounds kind of intimidating right off the bat.

Those people who meditate all the time seem to have everything so together. If my life were as peaceful as that, I probably could meditate too. My life is not like that. I don’t have an expensive meditation pillow or attractive yoga pants. And I certainly don’t have an extra thirty minutes a day that I don’t know what to do with. I’m lucky if I can grab five or ten minutes on the couch every other day and I’m sure that’s not close to enough time to do a proper meditation.

And what was I thinking I was going to accomplish with this meditation anyway? Did I actually think I was going to achieve some kind of enlightenment or nirvana. I don’t think so. Peace of mind? Happiness? Freedom from stress and anxiety? Not likely. Maybe I was just trying to be one of those people who have a really impressive response when asked, “So, tell me, how’s your meditation practice going?” Then I could tell them about all of my special insights and amazing personal growth. Well, let’s forget about that too.

And another thing

It’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve read books and articles on meditation. I’ve watched Youtube videos on it. I’ve taken a few classes and I’ve even visited this Buddhist place where an actual monk talks about it and then you all meditate together. All of it sounds good in theory. It makes perfect sense and I’m all in. But, for me, the harder I try to do it the right way, the way they say to do it, the more I mess it up. Maybe this whole meditation thing is a big old scam and they’re just trying to sell self-help books and wellness retreats. Or maybe it’s me and I’m just no good at it. 

It’s probably just me. I was always really fidgety as a kid. I probably have undiagnosed adult ADD. I was never good at paying attention. My mind wanders and I can’t focus. I’m a worrier and I can’t relax. I can’t help it. My whole father’s side of the family is the same way. It must be a genetic thing. Okay so maybe it’s not my fault, if it’s genetic, so I won’t beat myself up about it, but still, the bottom line is that I’m just not cut out for this. That Serenity Prayer thing says to stop trying to change things you can’t change, so I think that’s what I need to do. 

I’m done

So that’s it. I surrender. I am going to completely abandon all of my efforts to work on this fancy meditation project once and for all. I don’t care if people ask me about it. I’ll just tell them the truth, “I couldn’t do it, so I gave it up.” Let them judge me, laugh or pity me if they want. I really don’t care. Sorry if this comes as a shock or disappointment, but the truth of the matter is that I simply do not try to meditate anymore. Now I just sit. With my eyes closed. And breathe.

Art Frenz, Ph.D.

Photo by v2osk on Unsplash 


Psychological Fitness

“Psychological Fitness” is my monthly column featured in the Binghamton, NY Press & Sun Bulletin since 2004. This page highlights articles, or adaptations thereof, from that column.