Mindful

All you need to meditate is a mind, body, and a little bit of oxygen. But what if you start feeling isolated? Too far away from other meditators? What many people don’t realize is that one of the best ways to stick with the practice is to find a teacher and a community of learners.

Meditation is not something you only do by yourself. That’s a myth. It’s not private navel-gazing. There’s a big element of sharing with others and finding and giving support.

We asked six meditation teachers for advice on how to keep going when you hit a wall. Here’s what they said:

Donald McCown, meditation teacherDonald McCown

“You’re not getting the full deal unless you are involved in a community. One thing meditation offers is a real connection to other humans. We crave that. It’s tough being a human alone.”

Diana Winston, meditation teacherDiana Winston

“If you come to mindfulness to relieve suffering, that’s fantastic. But more advanced work with a teacher will allow you to move into the nuances of your practice, will keep it alive and interesting and applicable to your life.”

Florence Meleo-Meyer, meditation teacherFlorence Meleo-Meyer

“At the start we have big expectations, but there is something about the everydayness of meditation that is not quite so sexy. It’s important to know that a lull will happen, that it is not a sign to give up.”

Steve Hickman, meditation teacherSteve Hickman

“Most of us need a bit of scaffolding, at the very least, to help build the practice into our routine, to have guidance from others who have been where we are.”

Sebene Selassie, meditation teacherSebene Selassie

“I have been practicing for a long time and there are still times when I wonder why I do this, when I think I hate meditation. This practice goes against the stream.”

Patricia Mushim Ikeda, meditation teacherPatricia Mushim Ikeda

“You need a body. You need to be alive, and if you are alive then you are breathing. That’s all you need. You don’t need a cell phone, you don’t need fancy pants, you don’t need anything that costs any money.”

For more on how to keep going, check out these 7 Meditation Talks to Inspire You.

To find a teacher or community near you, visit our Resources Page. There’s a box on the side where you can search by location.

Karin Evans

Karin Evans is a longtime journalist and editor, and the author of The Lost Daughters of China: Adopted Girls, Their Journey to America, and the Search for a Missing Past. Her most recent piece for Mindful was an investigation of how mindfulness can help with unconcious bias (August 2015).

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