Why Isn't Mindfulness working?

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

I don’t know how many times I have asked some variation of the question, “Why doesn’t mindfulness work for me?”

I’m sure I even asked it last week, and I'm sure it will keep coming up.

So what's my answer?

From insight to... eh

I remember the first day I tried to meditate. I was newly 20, and it was a beautiful spring day in my little house on Virginia Avenue. (Yes, in Virginia. And yes, that’s my name, too.) The sun was filtering through the trees crowding my window, pulling a honeyed glow from the wooden floorboards. Like any good wide-eyed seeker, I had been reading Ekhart Tolle. After having my mind completely blown from the insights I was getting from my reading, I figured I should give this whole meditation thing a whirl. If I felt like this just reading about this stuff, I could only imagine the actual experience of doing it! I cleared a little space, piled up a couple of pillows on the floor, and planted myself on the squishy little hill.

It was only a matter of seconds before boredom set in. I wondered what the whole thing was about, and I kind of felt a little scammed, to be honest. Why didn’t I feel the same way meditating that I did when I was reading the book? Where was the transcendence, the knowing of myself beyond my limiting beliefs? Why was I so obviously "caught in my ego?" Why were my thoughts pulling me in a million different directions?

What do you mean by "working"?

I’ll put this in some context. I was one of those annoying kids in school who didn't really have to study to pass classes, and I got accustomed to “success” with minimal effort. While I was incredibly lucky to have that capacity during those early years in my life (when I had a lot of difficult stuff going on), I quickly learned that what was initially a blessing only matured into a curse. Being able to get by with very little work ultimately does not serve you - especially as you become an adult, and especially when "success" is no longer about knowing the answer.

The result was that I would give up on things that I was not immediately "good at.” And to me, being good at meditation meant that I would feel something specific. I craved that feeling I was getting from reading the book, the high that can come from intellectual understanding. I wasn’t getting that feeling, so I figured that either I sucked at meditation or it wasn’t working the way it was supposed to.

In reality, meditation was working perfectly fine. It had shown me my mind. And most importantly, it had shown me my own rejection of my mind. I just couldn’t see it yet.

Mindfulness is not a goal

It took me many years, lots of therapy, heaping doses of life, deep periods of depression and anxiety, moments when I knew myself to be completely connected to all of the beauty and pain of life, times when I had no idea what the point of anything was, months where I would practice every day, and months without practice - all of that - to be able to understand the real gist of mindfulness. To understand that mindfulness truly is not a goal. It is not about getting somewhere or feeling something.

Mindfulness is consciously being with what we experience as it is happening, regardless of what it is, without judgment. It is fundamentally about paying attention so that we can more and more consciously respond to our experience.

So that we can be in our lives more fully.

You don't have to figure it out alone

The way I was taught was to never simply believe what you're told. Try it on. Question it. And I want you to do the same - with me and with anyone or anything that comes your way. It's not about living in doubt, but in curiosity. It's about learning to truly listen to yourself.

It has taken me years of trying on and experimenting to get to where I am today, and I hope that it never stops. Even just this year, I have discovered modalities and approaches that have opened me up to entirely new ways of experiencing myself, my relationships, and the world.

My role is nothing other than fully accompanying you, to the best of my ability, on your journey for as long as it feels like I am the right person to do so. Maybe that is until you achieve a specific goal you are working towards, maybe that is until you feel like you have learned what you needed to with me, or maybe it’s until you need a rest or something else is calling you as your next step.

There is no promise here of ultimate healing or transcendence, that you will bust irreversibly through your internal barriers and manifest whatever you aspire to. What I do offer you is companionship, a mirror, and skills that I myself will always be continuing to learn and practice. I offer you trust - trust in your humanness, in your capacity to be aware and connected, and, most importantly, in your fundamental drive towards life (however buried it might seem to be).

Want to see if we're a good fit?

Let's meet to chat about your goals and see how I can support you!


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