I’ve noticed that not many people address the problem of fearing meditation because this is still a relatively unexplored subject. Many tend to focus on the popular issue of, “I can’t sit still while meditating. What are the alternatives to sitting?” However, what happens if you are too uncomfortable with silence, and do not have the courage to listen to your innermost thoughts?
Meditation is actually very Flexible
Popular belief claims that meditation is simply sitting still and quieting the mind. However, this is not always the case. Meditation is actually very flexible. Almost anything that stills and quiets your mind can be considered meditation. Meditation can be quiet, loud talking or singing, quick movement or dancing, or remaining completely motionless.
You can find meditation in different forms all over the globe. Meditation does not have to always be still and quiet. It can also be very active. For example, Sufi whirling (or Sufi spinning) is a type of moving meditation, or dancing if you prefer, that originated from old Islam, and still practiced in Islamic culture today. Simply put, it is accomplished by listening to music, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles. The rhythmic movement helps the dancer enter into a state of spiritual focus (or rather, trance) and emerge without a trace of dizziness, sometimes hours later.
There also exists loud singing meditation where one makes random or specific tones of sound in an attempt to become more in tune with the sensations or vibration it brings, and oneself.
You can also meditate using mantras. A mantra is a word or phrase repeated out loud or in your head throughout a meditation session that you come to focus on. You can invent your own mantras, or use the ones stemming from Buddhism, which is where mantras originated. Mantras can be used for positive affirmations, or making clear an intention.
Mantras are helpful because by repeating a sentence or word, the mind naturally comes to focus on it overtime, and let go of any other unnecessary thoughts in order to consider the thought that is being repeatedly presented to it.
The Origin of Fear
Some think of meditation as some sort of transcendental act, devout religious reflection, or spiritual introspection. Nonetheless, some experience an anxiety or fear about the practice. There are many reasons as to why one might be afraid of meditation but, I will address just the one below.
Meditation asks you to pull away from things happening outside of you and face yourself. In other words, it demands you to meet with yourself. When all things go quiet, and people leave you, you are left alone standing with yourself.
People who never pay attention to their needs, who focus more on the outside world and others, and who have never even considered themselves, may struggle with meditation. Meditation, in a sense, can be considered selfish in the way that you are opening yourself up to healing, and become willing to connect with your intimate thoughts and feelings that you may have stored away.
People who are sensitive or fearful of embracing themselves, this includes the good and the bad within them, often have trouble opening themselves up to meditation. They do not want to see themselves, or heal themselves—perhaps silence is even seen as scary. After all, meditation is an act of self-love, and encourages harmonious flow between the mind, body, and spirit. Fear will prevent you from being able to open up and relax yourself.
Overcoming the Fear
First things first: there is nothing to be afraid of.
Since meditation is an act of opening yourself up to yourself, you will receive nothing but love in return. When presented with a matter that involves the surrender of self and personal investment like meditation, people may respond to this task in different ways. When positive, the unknown can be met with extreme curiosity, which can lead to growth and discovery; or more negatively, with fear and stiffness.
Meditation has been practiced by millions of people since the idea has sprouted. It has been held closely by many for comfort, release, and relaxation. It is not something to be feared. There is no harm in it. Ultimately, only your negatively preconceived ideas and feelings on the subject can harm you.
If you are afraid of being alone, I suggest you first attempt meditation in the company of others—a close friend, even. This will help you ease the anxiety you feel around meditating. Meditating with a close friend might even be fun—or better yet, funny. Laughter will soothe your stress, and a caring equal partner will help you open yourself up further.
Meditation does not always have to be taken so seriously. When you start out, laugh as much as you can, smile as wide as you can manage, and keep your friends close to you. You will learn together.
You can even reach out by finding meditation clubs. Surround yourself with people who feel comfortable with meditation. They will teach you that what you fear is a normal and safe thing—as it should be.