Can you get worse at meditation?

At the beginning of the year, one of my main goals for 2015 was to get to the point where I could meditate for 30 minutes. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, so I used the calm app for my phone so I could work my way through, starting with small chunks and building up.

Despite setting my expectations low, it’s been harder than I thought. I assumed that it would start off difficult but then I would have longer and longer periods of a calm and quiet mind. Instead, the voices are getting louder.

I’m not sure if this is a normal thing. There is a chance that I’m at that point which occurs with most things; the bit where it gets so bad you want to give up before the breakthrough. It could be that I’m actually getting worse at it. I might be the first person to ever end a year’s worth of meditation more stressed out than when I started.

I don’t want to give up on this though. Not just yet. I have a few more strategies I’m going to try:

1) changing the time of day. I’ve been doing it just before bed, but maybe that’s not right for me. Instead, I’m going to try to move it to part of my 6am morning routine, before I have the chaos of the day built up inside of me.

2) change the frequency. I set myself a goal of doing it three times a week, because that seems doable. It means it doesn’t form a habit though, so the inertia sets in between each session. While it might seem crazy to say I’m going to do it more when I’m already struggling to do it less, I can see the benefit of making it part of my daily routine.

3) reduce the time back down again. I’ve been trying to do ten minute blocks, because that seemed reasonable. It could be that sitting for ten minutes right now is more than my brain can handle, so it allows itself to turn into a free-for-all. Going down to five minutes (or perhaps even three), until I can see some progress might be enough for now. I can build up again when I’m ready.

So that’s the plan. If anyone has any helpful hints, or has been through this and come out the other side, then please let me know!

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