It can take time to open up to anyone, including yourself.
If changes have not been clear as you practice and you feel somewhat lost, you’re not alone. It may be the case that you will come to your practice regularly for a month or longer without noticing anything “happen,” simply because that is part of your process. Something is indeed happening (something can’t not happen), but it may be too subtle to notice.
First of all, the discrete, noticeable manifestations of meditation, may not happen *during* meditation, but during another experience of the day or week. One session sitting may set something into motion that does not become clear for months. You may not be able connect the dots for a while, or ever. Sorry, life is mysterious!
Second of all, it may for example be the case that you are protecting yourself from difficult emotions or life situations, and you may have to go through many sessions before your heart, body, and mind begin to trust the practice enough to start to let energy shift. In this scenario, which is not an unusual one, the feeling that nothing is happening is a happening in and of itself. There’s more beneath what limited effects you can sense.
The feeling that nothing is happening is a happening in and of itself.
I’ll share my story. There was a time when I returned to an already very irregular practice after being away for quite a while. A crisis with no clear light at the end of the tunnel had struck, and that on top of an intensifying structural, long-term problem I was dealing with.
There was so much to process at this time. Today my understanding is that to manage the potential overflow of emotions, my body had locked some of my emotional floodgates (thank you, body!). I had many many meditation sessions where I felt practically nothing—even though my daily life was filled with anxiety, cautious hope, confusion, and inner conflict. My heart’s unwillingness to speak was something I would need to go through for a while before I could begin to open up to myself. Luckily I understood that I needed the support that everyone said meditation could offer. So I did not give up. I trusted what people have been saying for centuries. I had just enough patience to keep revisiting my practice. It’s not that in my practice I was only ever drawing blanks, but some important aspects of the journey just couldn’t be rushed.
My heart’s unwillingness to speak was something I would need to go through for a while before I could begin to open up to myself.
Over time, the gates opened just slightly, enough to let out the emotional waters in a manageable way. I was having emotional breakthroughs (my alternative term to emotional breakdowns, because I see them as a necessary and live-giving part of transformation) while not meditating. It was just when I tried to go inward that I’d get radio silence. Funny, isn’t it, how sometimes people (ourselves included) get quiet when we start actually listening. Because ah—you might actually hear what the soul is saying, and there’s a sensitivity and fear around that. There will not be opening up until there is trust—and there’s a wisdom there. So look—you’re already experiencing a wisdom at play within yourself.
Funny, isn’t it, how sometimes people (ourselves included) get quiet when we start actually listening.
I didn’t *do* anything special in my meditations. I just kept sitting with myself. I started journaling a bit here and there, delicately rekindling my faded relationship with my inner truth. Eventually things began to shift more and more. Looking back at my meditation journal today, I can see in my entries that more was taking place than I realized at the time. In the larger context, everything really started to make sense.
My process of getting past the state of being self-protectively blocked and getting to a point of feeling my pain and sadness enough to realize I needed to take action took about eight months. Eight months is not very long when it culminates in a life-changing, liberating decision that brings you into contact with your higher purpose and into connection with yourself.
Meditation delivers contents when you’re ready for them. Sometimes meditation has to build you up for a while before it can safely carry you into the depths of your emotions. Sometimes it feels like you will never be ready for something, but if it comes up, it does so because you are ready for it.
Sometimes it feels like you will never be ready for something, but if it comes up, it does so because you are ready for it.
Today, I am inexpressibly grateful that I sat through those first uneventful sessions and trusted the practice to eventually show me what I needed to see, and to carry me along at a pace I could handle. It’s these kinds of experiences that nurture a profound trust in and appreciation for the intelligence of our deeper selves and teach us how to let go…and that’s worth quite a lot.
So, if you’re not feeling much, know that wisdom is at play, and if you continue to trust and visit the practice, adventures of heart and mind are inevitable.
The 21-day Foundations meditation program supports you in developing a consistent practice--this can be very helpful for getting through the initial stages where it seems like nothing is happening.
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