How To Be Uncomfortable

Frequently when I meditate I hit a point about ten minutes in where I really want to do something else. I count my breathing and try to keep my posture in order and all that, but then I suddenly remember something I need to do, or I get really hungry, or I feel the sun hitting my room and I want to go outside.

This is a moment that plenty of daily suffering rides on. Saying yes to the temptation to stop meditating represents a lack of self-control and discipline that can quickly lead to a life of mundane hedonism and delusional thinking.

When you begin meditating, you’ll experience this. Every fiber in your being will tell you to stop sitting in silence for no reason, because your mind has become intolerant to stillness. We’re taught that time is of the essence and we must be doing something useful at all times. To force yourself to do nothing for 20 minutes a day feels unnatural.

The irony is that this capability for stillness is a very organic thing. Meditating only feels forced and unnatural to the artificial mind. Most modern people will experience a deep discomfort when meditating. Sometimes it can persist for many years.

It’s this very discomfort that leads us to a better understanding of ourselves. When we learn to accept being uncomfortable in a moment of reflection or stillness, we realize that maybe there’s an underlying chaos to an unreflective or unstill life. We try to drown our inner thoughts out with distractions but they are still there.

Repressed stuff can bubble over and turn us into really bizarre and unappealing specimens of contemporary life. Meditation allows us to confront both our fake selves and real selves in real time. When the mind is given time to reflect upon itself, it realizes that discomfort is just a temporary disposition. Discomfort is caused by some sort of attachment to past or future that has no real grounding in the moment.

To endure discomfort and realize that it’s nothing special allows us to live in an entirely different way. Life becomes about more than just seeking things that we think will aid in relieving our discomfort. Uncomfortable people are always trying to find some sort of solace, at times searching desperately for it, and then wonder why it never comes. The trick is to dive into discomfort rather than avoid it.

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