Sometimes when I am teaching mindful meditation, I forget what it’s like for beginners as they sit down with the aim of reaching that blissful meditative state, banishing stress. Effort of will must surely be required here. This is a battle for their own minds and sanity. They need to have their game faces on. Cue furrowed brows and tightened lips.
It is another of the paradoxes of this practice that we strive not to strive. We aren’t supposed to be getting anywhere, we should just be accepting what is.
I guide them to just be where they are and who they are. And that makes you think, “Why am I doing this if the object is not to get anywhere or be anything? What kind of self-help is this if I am not going to up my skills and be a better me?”
And the crux of the matter is this. You don’t have to be anywhere; you need to be here. And so, you don’t need to try, you’re fine as you are. There's no need to extend effort to sit in one place. And curiously, by just be-ing, you are training your mind to focus, to wait, be patient, to respond not react, be calmer, more relaxed and at ease. Significant upskilling, don’t you think?
So, if you stay who you are and accept yourself – then the self-help will come to you.