Three common obstacles to the practice of mindfulness meditation are grasping, trying to shut off the mind and being too busy to find time to sit and meditate.
It is familiar to us to try to grasp at mindfulness meditation. To remember and regurgitate like we did in grade school with Math, English, etc. We grasp at the concepts to store them in our mind for later use. This is a familiar mode for us to be in. Meditation is different, it cannot be learned this way. We can read about Meditation forever, but this is not meditating. Meditation is to be experienced, it is a felt sense. So we can read about meditation as a support for our practice, but the most important element is the practice itself.
Trying to Shut Off the Mind
Often meditation students believe that they are unable to meditate because they are trying to shut off their mind. The goal of meditation is not to shut off your mind. One of the goals of mindfulness meditation is to recognize the belief that if we are unable to shut off our mind, we are not a “good meditator”. It is the nature of the mind to wander. It is normal and expected in meditation for the mind to be busy, to lose focus or be unable to relax.
Too Busy to Find Time For Mindfulness Meditation
Some people believe they are too busy to find time to sit and meditate. Since some sit for 15-60 minutes once a week (or more) in a formal meditation, practitioners may believe this is the only way to meditate. Meditation does not have to be a formal practice, in which we sit for 15-60 minutes on a meditation cushion. We can meditate during our daily lives in many situations, even for a minute or 10 seconds at a time. The same awareness we bring to our breath during breathing meditation can be brought to the breath while grocery shopping or walking to the mailbox.