What Holds People Back from Being Able to Meditate?

By George A. Boyd ©2015

There are several issues that hold people back from being able to meditate. These include:

  1. Mental illness or severe physical illness – here you are unable to focus, and can’t think clearly.
  2. Demands of work and family – in this situation, you simply have no time for meditation.
  3. Cultural or religious prohibition – in this scenario, there are prohibitions on doing certain forms of meditation, or the cultural or religious group sees meditation as a pathway to madness or possession by evil spirits.
  4. Addiction – here you are obsessed with the object of your addiction, which largely takes over your life and thought.
  5. Rational or skeptical mindset – You do not enter an altered state of consciousness outside of the logical parameters of brain or physical universe; doubt and skepticism vitiates any inner experience and attributes it to an epiphenomenon of the nervous system or temporary psychosis.
  6. History of religious cultism or religious abuse – Your prior religious involvement has created sufficient personal dysfunction, so that you are frightened to again enter altered states of consciousness through meditation.
  7. Dysfunctional family background – In this case, you are dealing with the sequelae of abuse, trauma, and neglect, and until these issues are handled, it is hard for you to escape the psychological undertow of these issues.

Mental illness and physical illness clearly must be controlled to the point that you can meditate: these conditions must be professionally supervised, though some people can find methods that help them get to a point where they are able to meditate. Some actually get help with their physical or mental health condition using prayer and meditation, but they must attain the requisite ability to focus their attention and to think clearly to move beyond the rudiments of relaxation and mindfulness.

The demands of work and family are a lifestyle issue. Many do not see another option for their overwhelming days; clearly they must find a way to clear up some time through letting go of some commitments and delegating some tasks.

Cultural and religious prohibition is commonly seen in milieus where there is a dominant religious authority that dictates rules for living and social conduct. These fundamentalist and totalitarian societies attempt to enforce conformity of belief and behavior. You may see it in radical Muslim sects, and in authoritarian sects of Judaism and Christianity; it appears in cultic groups from all religious backgrounds; it is also evident in atheistic Communist regimes, which attempt to constrain religious activity.

Clearly, you must have access to an alternative way of thinking and living. Some escape these totalistic, repressive environments either through emigration or joining an underground group that encourages prayer and meditation.

Addiction can become life consuming, and meditation becomes impossible. You must get into recovery if you are to become free from the tenacious grasp of addiction. We plan to offer some support to this group of individuals through our Addiction Recovery Coaching Program, which is being developed. We encourage people dealing with an addiction to find a supportive group to assist them attain and maintain abstinence from their addictive substance or behavior.

To overcome the self-sabotage of a rational or skeptical mindset, you must have an experience that cannot be explained away with a brain-based axiom. You must verify that there is something outside the scientific worldview to begin to entertain the possibility that you can transcend the brain and visible physical universe, and move into the other dimensional worlds of the Great Continuum.

Those who have had prior involvement with a religious cult or have had a background in a religious authoritarian family will need to deal with the issues of betrayal and abuse. We provide these individuals a structured way to work through these issues in our Cult Recovery Coaching Program. This program is now available.

Like those dealing with addiction or cults, those growing up in a dysfunctional family must work through their issues before they are ready to meditate. Many of these will benefit from counseling, therapy, and support groups. We are developing a Dysfunctional Family Coaching Program to help them explore and work through these issues.

Those who can overcome these hindrances to practicing meditation can make progress in their inner development. Not everyone is able to overcome these challenges, so not everyone is able to meditate—but for those who can, the potential benefits are great.