7 Obstacles to Mindfulness and How to Overcome Them
Posted on 17 May 2011
“Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.” ~Unknown
Mindfulness has allowed me to become more aware of my thoughts and reach a sense of inner peace.
As my awareness has increased, so has the peace and joy in my life. The more familiar I have become with the inner workings of my mind, the better I have started to feel.
That got me interested, and that is where my journey started. It hasn’t been an easy journey by any means, but I’m nearing a decade on this path, and I don’t regret it for a moment.
I’ve been through a lot of challenges, such as going through brief spurts of depression. I’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough, and that life wouldn’t work out the way I wanted it to.
In every one of these cases I let my thoughts run wild. I started focusing on the negative instead of on the positive, and I think many people have the same tendency.
So there have been both ups and downs, but in the end they have all been there for a reason. And with each “bad period,” I’ve learned more and more about myself.
I’ve learned more about what works and what doesn’t, and they have all been blessings in disguise.
I have wanted to give up many times, but I’m glad that I kept going.
Truly living in the present moment isn’t easy, but it is highly rewarding. The best way to move forward on your own path to “here and now” is to understand the potential obstacles and plan in advance how you’ll deal with them.
1. Mindfulness takes ongoing effort.
Mindfulness takes a lot of work, but the good news is that the longer you practice, the easier it gets, and the more joyful your life becomes.
At first, your thoughts will be in chaos, and everything will seem out of control. Your situation will feel helpless, but the more you focus on being fully where you are, the easier it will be to find peace of mind in the moment.
Mindfulness is best practiced throughout your day. It’s not just for when you sit down and meditate. Focus on being mindful of your thoughts when you’re doing everyday tasks and it will be easier to remain mindful when things get tough.
2. There will always be distractions.
When you’re on your journey to becoming more mindful, it seems as if the universe starts throwing stuff at you just to give you challenges.
The distractions could be problems in your life, drama in your relationships, or old negative beliefs popping up from your past.
These are great opportunities to practice present moment awareness. They will help you become stronger, better, and more in tune with yourself. The problems and challenges we face are teachers in disguise.
They are there to help you grow and to realize who you truly are.
3. Progress doesn’t always come quickly.
Progress may seem excruciatingly slow. There will be times when you attach to things and situations that you want, which will make it difficult to be fully in the present moment. It’s impossible to be mindful when you’re dwelling on the past or obsessing about the future.
We all do those things sometimes. I’ve experienced it countless times in my own life. The more I want something, the more I fixate on not having it and wanting to get it.
Once I release the attachment and focus on being grateful for what I have in the moment, my life seems to shift, and progress seems to happen naturally.
4. You may want to give up.
Like with any worthwhile journey, you will feel like giving up and throwing in the towel multiple times.
But it is during the times when you feel most frustrated that you are often on the verge of a breakthrough.
Our lives are very similar to the seasons. We go through cold, dark winters, and joyful, expanding summers. It all comes and goes. It’s the ebb and flow of life.
When you realize that the challenging times are there to help you grow, you will automatically feel more peaceful and relaxed.
5. Your goals may challenge your mindfulness.
Having goals is fantastic, essential even, but when you become overly attached to them, something bad happens, just like we talked about above.
You know that you’re too attached to something when you start feeling frustrated, angry, and negative.
Attachment muddles our clarity. You’re likely pursuing your goals because you believe they will make you happy. Remember that when you start letting your goals pull you into a stressful state of mind. If you focus on the good things around you, you’ll feel that happiness that you think you need to chase.
This will make you much happier in the long term, and, of course, right now.
6. You might forget that the journey is the destination.
Most people miss the fact that the reward is in the journey. Have you ever noticed that when you reach a goal, it’s not as exciting as you thought it would be?
Sure, it feels great to hit a milestone, but if you do not replace that goal with another one, you will soon find yourself feeling unfulfilled.
That’s because we are goal-seeking mechanisms. Humans need goals so they can have a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
It is in the journey that we learn, grow, and become better. When you’re practicing mindfulness, remember that there is nowhere to arrive at. If you focus on what is going on right now, the rest take care of itself.
7. Sometimes you’ll want to be anywhere but in the now.
Even the most enlightened masters on earth have to deal with difficult situations and chaotic thoughts. The difference is they have learned to accept the moment for what it is.
When you do this, you become the guardian of your inner space, which is the only way to feel good inside and find peace of mind, right now.
Photo by Sigi K
About Henri Junttila
Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud, where you can get his free course: 7 Steps to Building a Lifestyle Business Around Your Passion. He's also the author of Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself and Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life.
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