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You should WANT to be a crappy Meditator

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

So you hate meditation. You just can’t sit still. You feel anxious and agitated. You just can’t do it. You have tried it a few times but you came to the inevitable conclusion you’re a crappy meditator. I say HUZZAH! Congratulations you did great!

Sounds weird right? I know, let me explain. When you sat down to meditate and the anxiety came, were you aware that you were anxious? Were you at any point during your meditations aware that you were uncomfortable or in pain or agitated? Then congratulations you meditated!! Not so crappy after all!

Saying I’m a crappy meditator is basically just saying I’m a modern human who meditated.

Minds are meant to run and wander off. They’re designed to create new connections and anticipate all sorts of things. It needs to explore to do that. It’s only when it explores too much or too far that we have a problem. So meditation was invented as training for the human on how to watch, observe and yes even eventually control the mind. But slow down we aren’t there yet.

It gets confusing because there are as many types of meditation in the far east as there are gravies in the deep south. Most of them are pretty decent and have their specific uses but all of them have one central thing in common. No, not a roux; awareness.

At its foundation meditation is simply awareness. Awareness is the first and only step to proper meditating. Which brings us back to the whole, if you’re aware of your itch pain, fear, anxiety; then you’re meditating.

However, there are many other types one can choose to branch off into, in order to develop certain aspects of themselves; but the center of each of these unique styles is still awareness. Not some fancy form of special awareness that you don’t have or even need to cultivate either. No, the awareness that you have and use everyday that helps you do things like know where to put your hand to scratch an itch or that reminds you to become embarrassed after a social faux pas.

So, if you are aware that you are a crappy meditator then you are successfully meditating!

That’s seriously the first and only step to proper meditation so go easy on yourself. You’re doing good. At least as good as any modern human could expect to.

If you want to go from a crappy meditator to a great one, all you need to add is one more step. Don’t intervene during your meditation. At least try not to. When the anxiety, work conversation, or itch comes up do nothing. I know it feels dumb and uncomfortable and hard in a really weird way. But just be aware of how it feels. Whatever “it” is, it always starts as a sensation.

When you meditate put your entire mind on the sensation, become curious about it, notice it, hate it if that’s what happens, then notice the hate. If you do that you’re a great freakin' meditator. Do that every day for 20 min and your life will change forever.

The most hilarious part though is that you’ll being doing great as a meditator and yet…. you’ll still feel like a crappy one!!! That’s OK though! You’re not alone!

For me at least when I used to picture meditation it conjured and image of monks in a temple walking or sitting serenely between their duties. I don’t live in a monastery and I don’t really want to. I personally love good food, late nights, and great sex. Which means I don’t need the same levels of austerity to my mindfulness practice that they have and it definitely means that my practice is even more necessary for me.

Those monks live in monasteries far away from the hustle bustle and toils of life, children, break ups, Bosses, traffic jams and mandatory work Christmas Parties. They just don’t have the same level or types of stresses that we have out here. So, their practice will always look more peaceful because their life is more peaceful. Plus they practice WAAAAAAAAAY more.

If you have never really meditated before at all and you notice your mind runs around a lot let it. If you try to do what most meditation stuff tells you to do which is force your mind back onto your breath you’re gonna have a hard time.

Your modern American mind is wound so tight that your mind has to run at a speed that can keep up with capitalism pace. Which means when you give yourself time to turn that off its gonna have a hard time at first. Our minds have momentum from trying to keep up with our world. We recognize it in certain aspects like in studying but not in others. This is one of those other places.

Let your mind run. Notice it running. Don’t chase it.

Watch to see where it goes. Its like a dog. It has to come home to eat eventually. Unlike a real dog only you can actually feed your mind so don’t worry, he’ll be back. Let ‘em run wild. Watch it observe it be entertained by it!

Yes, you can and especially early on probably should be entertained by the way your mind behaves. It’s a bizarre miraculous confusing wonderful thing. And a sense of humor will always help. So laugh and watch your erratic overstimulated mind with curiosity. Wonder at the wonderful meat sack you reside in. A human mind is a strange place sometimes. That’s why we meditate.

Don’t judge it just watch it. That’s meditation. If you can manage to notice AND not judge well then, you’re 80% of the way to a master meditator as far as I’m concerned.

And it all starts with the first necessary step of being a crappy meditator! So go for it! The health benefits of mindfulness are reported everywhere now a days. Oxford recently proved it’s at least as effective as any drug therapy for preventing depression relapse! And without negative side effects. We all know it’s great. But we just can’t bring ourselves to do it because when we don’t know how to do something right, we feel like idiots the entire time and that’s never helpful.

Nobody wants to feel like an idiot and 90% of the stuff available online on mindfulness is repeating the same junk with no teacher to help us. We really only need a teacher because we need to know if we are doing it right. So, consider this article your first teacher if you don’t have one. Now you know that “crappy” meditation is indeed “proper” meditation for us beginners. So just keep at it. You can have AMAZING benefits just by being a crappy and consistent meditator!

Even being a crappy meditator still reduces stress.

chills out your brains baseline reactivity and generally will make your day much more pleasant. If you’re learning for the first time that your crappy meditation isn’t so crappy after all; I want to also say I’m sorry.

I struggled for years with meditation largely because I never knew if I was doing it right. And being the person I was, I assumed I was doing absolutely everything wrong, all of the time. So that made for a potent mix of physical discomfort, frustration at feeling stupid and confusion surrounding the “how do I know” part of the whole process.

You can guess that lead to a hell no almost every time I thought “I should meditate.” I hated thinking about meditation because it was VERY uncomfortable and I felt very stupid. I HATE feeling stupid; and there was no one to tell me I was doing it right or wrong. The sensations that flooded me were so strong it was very hard to deal with and I had no idea what to do about it anyway. I thought my job as a meditator was to be at peace while also in all this discomfort.

Awareness is the goal

Please hear me when I say, that’s not the goal! Peace isn’t the goal. Awareness is. Life is hard. Peace in all the hard times would be great however. Persistent Peace is often elusive to all but the most devoted of practitioners. Awareness however is here for us all.

With awareness, if we observe ourselves closely, we are able to predict the sensations of our bodies, the dark and chaotic corners our mind wanders to first and why. This is not peace but it is useful information. Knowing these things can make moments of peace a little easier to find in the chaos.

So, consider this your introduction. Everyone who meditates looses focus, our minds wander, we forget were supposed to be meditating, we fall asleep. Instead of taking that as proof that you’re a crappy meditator I hope you understand that that is why we meditate. It means you’re doing it right.

So now you have no excuse. I believe in you. I KNOW that you can be the crappiest meditator in the world and it will benefit you GREATLY! So go be the crappiest meditator EVER!!

If you are unsure where to start

I have partnered with Decolonize Healthcare to create a 21 day Meditation Exploration! It’s a survey course designed so you will get 1 week to experience 3 styles of meditation. Week one is all about awareness, week two cultivates loving kindness and week three's topic is a surprise. So you'll just have to take the course to find out! Its made for beginners aka crappy meditators and is totally 100% FREE!!

Go check out the Meditation exploration on to join the program so you no longer have to fear meditation or feel bad about it. Meditation is here to help. Not something to insult ourselves with.

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