Mindfulness meditation: Hard or Easy?


My students tell me it is hard to find time to meditate, hard to sit still, hard to focus the mind, and hard to remember to do all of this.

I agree. All of that stuff can be challenging, downright difficult, truly hard.

But so is getting the high score on your favorite video game, getting to work after staying out late partying, running a 10K, playing basketball, writing an essay, passing a math test, cleaning a messy kitchen, staying on top of work and school and the rest of life.

I bet you do some of those things. If not, I bet you can think of plenty of things you do even though they are hard.

Some of these hard things you probably do just because they are fun or you like the challenge. Some of these hard things you are obligated to do.

Either way, you don’t just avoid everything that is hard. What would be the fun of that? You wouldn’t have gotten this far in life if you couldn’t do some hard stuff.

But you know what? Meditation and mindfulness don’t have to be hard.

Mindfulness is simply the act of being aware. And awareness is easy.
Mindfulness is simply the act of being aware. It is just about cultivating awareness. And awareness is easy.

Try it. Become aware of all the sounds you can hear right now.

Was that hard? How long did it take?

I bet it was simple to make that shift into present-moment awareness.

It takes almost no effort at all to awaken your awareness. And you can do it any time, any place, for even just a few seconds at a time.

Meditation teacher Alex Santos emphasizes that meditation can be completely simple. He suggests: bring your palms together and then feel your hands touching. How hard is that?

Again, it’s almost effortless.

Awareness is what opens up the peacefulness of the present moment. Like the eye of a storm, there is often a slight feeling of calm that can be detected when you make contact with the present moment.

So when you are feeling pressured or worried, tired or irritated, you can simply rest in awareness by touching your palms together or listening to the sounds around you or following one, slow, deep breath.

That phrase “rest in awareness” reflects the experience of restfulness that emerges when we tap into our awareness, our mindfulness.

Meditation is simply how we practice mindfulness, how we practice flexing our awareness. Meditation is what helps us ease regularly into awareness and to remember to weave awareness into our day.

If your mind is telling you that meditation is too hard, bring awareness to that story.

If your mind is telling you that you don’t have time to meditate, bring awareness to that story.

Noticing the story is awareness. And awareness is easy. Don’t make it harder than it is. Simply take a deep breath and see how it feels. The moment you do that, you’re meditating.

Have you had an experience of the simplicity of awareness? Share it below .

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

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  • Love it “bringing yourself back to the present moment. ” I find that mindfulness meditation is a return to something so familiar, so much a part of me, that I just forgot it was there…like a watch or ring people might wear their whole life but mostly don’t even feel it. I think when we open up fully, we feel a return to something so real and true.

  • Thich Nhat Hanh says something like, “meditation is the act of bringing yourself back to the present moment.” For me, meditation seems hard when I have expectations about what meditation is or what my experience should be. When you keep it simple: meditation is the act of bringing yourself back to the present moment, then you can never fail and you can experience the peace of the moment, even if it is fleeting.

The Mindful Twenty Something by Holly Rogers
“Wise, but not obscure. Practical, but lighthearted and inspiring.”

— MIRABAI BUSH, co-founder and Senior Fellow of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Learn more about the book