Is Meditation Pointless?

The Buddhists have a famous saying, “Zazen is good for nothing” – Kodo Sawaki Roshi Zazen is the Buddhist tradition’s form of meditation. If meditation is good for nothing why do Buddhists meditate all the time? Well, that’s the joke in a sense. When you hear that saying the first time you’ll think meditation is pointless. But the more you meditate the more you’ll see what they truly were saying. Meditation is good for nothing. Perhaps by the end of this article, you’ll understand the true meaning of that. Meditation is not pointless. Though the practice can seem monotonous, boring, and pointless there are actually dozens of proven benefits. Meditation can help you make great strides in many areas of your life from developing spiritually to improving your sense of wellbeing. > see my article, “How to Transform Your Life With Meditation” Why meditation Can Seem pointless Meditation can at times seem pointless, purposeless, and boring. You may be thinking “should I be wasting 10 minutes everyday doing essentially nothing?” Despite the many benefits, meditation in the beginning can feel a bit pointless. It feels like you’re wasting your time When you sit down to meditate you’re actively doing nothing. You’re intentionally doing absolutely nothing for 10-20 minutes or more. This can really seem like a waste of time. Remember the Buddhist saying! “meditation is good for nothing”. Why should you waste your time on doing absolutely nothing? ‘Nothing’ is actually incredibly beneficial. In meditation you’re fostering that nothingness. It’s in the practice of doing nothing that the benefits arise. Though it may feel like a waste of time, sitting down to meditate is fostering slow growing benefits that accumulate with practice. You’re not seeing any benefits yet If you’re in the beginning of building your meditation habit you may feel like meditation is pointless simply because you haven’t tasted the sweet benefits that meditation has to offer. Like all good things, this will take time too. Though there are some immediate benefits to meditation, a lot of the truly life changing benefits come weeks, months, and years into a meditation practice. This doesn’t mean that meditation is pointless though. Even if you only want short term benefits, meditation can still help you. But the super profound mental shifts you might have been promised will take time. Meditation can be hard and frankly boring Establishing a meditation practice is hard. Getting yourself to sit for 10 or more minutes a day for meditation truly isn’t an easy thing. Especially at the beginning. Meditation is hard because it’s boring. We as human beings like to be doing things, building, and learning. Meditation seems like the complete opposite of an enjoyable task. You may have other more pressing things in your life that would be far more interesting to attend to. To get past this meditation struggle you need to shift your perspective. View meditation as a building, doing, and learning activity. Although yes, you are slowing down and doing nothing, you are actively slowing down and doing nothing. It’s important to see that you’re meditating for the purpose of building a better mind, learning more about yourself, and nurturing your spirit. > see my article “Struggling to Meditate? 7 Common Issues And Their Solutions” The benefits of meditation The truth is that meditation truly isn’t pointless. There are so many benefits for your mind, body, and spirit that come alongside a meditation practice. Here are some of the benefits you could see if you stick with your meditation practice. Benefits for the mind Benefits for the body Benefits for the spirit Meditation is good for nothing… So yes, meditation is good for nothing… well actively doing nothing. And doing nothing (meditating) has so many benefits for your life in the short term and long term. Yes, meditation may seem pointless at the beginning. Especially when building the habit of meditation can be boring and difficult. But you’ll find out for yourself if you keep at it for just 10 minutes a day. You’ll come to find the meditation is NOT pointless.

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Meditation With Pets: How to Meditate With a Distracting Pet

Does your dog get confused when you meditate in front of them? Maybe your cat can’t keep away from you while you sit for your morning meditation. Or perhaps you struggle with getting distracted by the curious creatures you’ve adopted into your home. Having pets in your home while you’re trying to cultivate a meditation practice can be a tricky situation. Today we’re going to go over everything you need to know about meditating with pets in the house and how to deal the common struggles that can ensue. Why won’t my cat/dog leave me alone during meditation? There’s a lot of reasons why your pet might be bothering you so much during your meditation practice. The main reasons your pet is bothering you during a meditation session is most likely because they are either curious, want attention, or need to go potty. 1. They’re curious Your furry friend might be curious of what you’re up to. Afterall, curiosity killed the cat remember? Animals are naturally curious and will want to investigate what you’re doing if it’s a new behavior they’ve never seen you do before. Although it may be bothersome, they’re just following their furry little instincts and checking out what’s going on. 2. They want attention When you meditate your pet may feel ignored. This can then cause them to come over get that attention back from you. Your dog or cat may also just want some extra love and attention from you. When you meditate you are pulling your attention away from your pet and they may feel jealous of that attention and try to come get some back. This can prove to be frustrating when a pet comes up to you or sits in your lap as you meditate but this could simply be because they want your love and attention. 3. They want something else from you It could very well be that your pet is bothering you during a meditation because they need something from you. Perhaps your dog needs to go outside and use the bathroom. Or maybe your cat is hungry and wants you to put out the food bowl. Make sure to take care of all the things your pet needs before you start your meditation to ensure they are content and taken care of. Why does my cat/dog Freak Out when I meditate? You know that curiosity I was talking about earlier? Sometimes your pet’s curiosity may turn into anxiety or worry. Sitting still for long periods of time on the floor may seem like unusual behavior to your pet. If your pet suspects something is wrong they may start to freak out and get really anxious. If your dog or cat seems agitated by your meditation, just give them a few pets of reassurance to let them know you’re alright. Then keep on meditating. What can you do about a bothersome pet? There are a few things you can do when it comes to dealing with a curious pet interrupting your meditation practice. 1. Move them to another room The simplest solution to your problem is to just lead them to another room and shut the door. If they can’t see you meditate they may just ignore you and go on their merry way. You could also put them outside if you have a fenced in backyard or yard leash. This could backfire though and make them feel more anxious as they wonder what’s going on. It’s worth a try, but these other options may work better 2. Include your pet in your meditation Something you may want to try is to meditate with your pet. If they are distracting you, notice that distraction. Bring your mindful awareness to what your dog or cat may be doing. If your cat comes to lay on your lap, try to allow and accept the situation for what it is. Meditation after all is about observation, acceptance, and flowing in the present moment. Try to notice why something they do bothers you. Observe that annoyance as you would any other thought passing through your mind. This might work for minor distractions, but if your dog is being particularly loud and obnoxious it’s probably best to move them or yourself to another room in the house. 3. Wait for your dog or cat to fall asleep Does your dog usually take a nap in the afternoon? or maybe your cat snoozes in the evenings. Keep track of when they usually sleep throughout the day and take advantage of that time for a meditation session. If they’re asleep, they can’t be bothering or worrying about you. This one requires a bit of waiting however, so if you’re not up for that its okay to just move them to another room. Is it OK to meditate with a pet in the room? Of course it’s okay to meditate with a pet in the room! Pets can be easily incorporated into a meditation session. Simply observe them as you would anything else that arises in a meditation session. However if your pet proves to be especially difficult you can move behind closed doors to meditate in peace. Either is fine and at the end of the day it’s up to personal preference.

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Leg/Foot Numbness During Meditation? What You Need to Know

Have you ever meditated for a few minutes only to be met with your foot falling asleep? Well you’re not alone, according to a recent poll of 34 meditators nearly 71% of them have experienced foot or leg numbness during their meditation practice before. Foot and leg numbness during meditation is caused by increased pressure to extremity nerves. A foot falling asleep during meditation is extremely common and not something to be too concerned about, despite the discomfort it may cause you. I’ve personally experienced numbness during meditation and it really can be uncomfortable, but what exactly causes it and what can you do about it? What causes foot and leg numbness during meditation? When you sit in a meditation position that puts pressure on your lower extremities you temporarily compress the nerves there. This extra pressure on the nerves in your feet and legs cuts of the nervous system messaging between the feet and the brain. The most common nerves that become compressed during meditation are the Tibial nerve in the back of the knee and the Peroneal nerve that runs down into the ankle. Contrary to popular belief, pins and needles are not actually caused by restricted blood flow, rather the numbness is caused by a nerve signaling disruption from extra pressure on the area. Pins and needles happens when when you release that pressure and the nerve signaling is reengaging with the rest of your body. However, numbness can also happen alongside blood flow restriction even if it’s not the cause of the numbness. Should you be concerned about leg or foot numbness? Though numbness may be uncomfortable during meditation, it’s really nothing to worry about. At least for the length of time you’d likely be sitting in a meditation position. If you’re meditating for less than an hour, you should be okay to continue meditating with the fallen asleep foot or leg. Though anything longer than 45 minutes may be dangerous as the leg is cut off from the vital blood supply. Overall, a numb foot or leg shouldn’t keep you from continuing a meditation session and isn’t dangerous for the majority of short meditation sessions. > see my article “Struggling to Meditate? 7 Common Issues and Their Solutions” How to prevent foot or leg numbness during meditation Even if numbness during meditation isn’t dangerous it really can be an annoyance you want to avoid. Luckily, there are a few things you can try to incorporate into your meditation practice to reduce or prevent foot numbness. 1. Choose a comfortable position Make sure to select a position at the beginning of your meditation that’s comfortable and doesn’t put too much pressure on your legs and feet. Numbness is more likely to occur in positions where your feet are directly under your body weight. Experiment with different positions like lotus, half lotus, or the Burmese position. 2. Try a meditation cushion You may want to try sitting on a chair or using a cushion to elevate your hips. I use a meditation cushion like this one all the time for my meditation sessions and it really can relieve that pressure on your legs. Try meditating with just a bed or throw pillow first to see if it helps with the numbness. 3. Stretch before and after meditation Doing some simple stretches and muscle massaging before and after meditation can help warm up and relax your muscles. Though stretching before a meditation likely won’t do anything to stop numbness from occurring, stretching after a meditation session can help return blood supply to the area and help the numbness go away more quickly. 4. Add movement to your meditation Sitting still in one spot might not be the right thing for everyone’s meditation practice. Try incorporating gentle movements into your meditation practice. Some great moving mindfulness practices you could try are: These kinds of meditations won’t constrict your legs or feet and can be the perfect alternative for you if you’re prone to numbness during sitting meditation. 5. Practice your meditation posture Regular meditation practice can help improve your posture, reduce tension, and increase flexibility. With enough trial and error throughout your practice you’ll find which postures and positions can all help prevent leg/foot numbness the best. Keep at it, notice what feels better or worse, and adjust your practice for what fits best for you. > see my article “Everything You Need For The Ultimate Meditation Setup” Conclusion Leg and foot numbness during meditation is a pretty common issue. The good news is that it can be easily prevented and it’s not dangerous if you experience numbness from time to time. By choosing a comfortable position, stretching, incorporating movement, and practicing regularly, you can create a more comfortable meditation experience. The key to a successful meditation is finding what works best for you, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different postures and techniques to find what works best for you.

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