Why Meditation doesn’t work for everyone
By IICT Member, Isabelle Cunningham
“I have tried meditation and it doesn’t work for me.”
Have you heard anyone say this? Perhaps a friend, a client or a student? Maybe it is something you have even said yourself!
I have heard this statement spoken in earnest, many times throughout my three decades of teaching meditation. Yet so many people absolutely love meditation and can’t imagine getting through a day without it!
Research has proven those people are receiving massive benefits through their meditation practice: People who meditate regularly are much better at managing the day to day stress of modern life. They are healthier and more motivated. They even have more effective immune systems, better relationships and less weight issues than people who do not meditate.
We know meditation makes an enormous positive impact on life so why do some people love it and reap the benefits and some others not enjoy it at all and find it useless for them? The answer is so very simple! We all have a particular learning style. Often we have more than one but usually one learning style is predominant in each person. There are lots of different models of learning style that have been developed over the years, but we don’t need to get to complicated here.
The basic learning styles are;
These people need to see. They often have very visual minds and can picture things very clearly. They often think in pictures or a combination of pictures and words. We might say they have vivid imaginations.
These people need to Hear. They often think in words and can have trouble seeing or making pictures in their minds. They are particularly good at giving and following verbal instructions and using language.
Kinesthetic learners or tactile learners-
These people need to do, touch or feel. They need to experience. They may think in a combination of words and pictures but are more inclined to think in emotions or feelings. They are often quite artistic and/or physical.
We all fit into one of these groups. Some of us may belong to more than one category but one will be the predominant learning style.
When it comes to practicing meditation, these learning styles play a major role in determining which of the many styles of meditation will best suit the individual.
If you are a visual learner, you will enjoy and benefit most from meditations that are visual, like creative visualization or guided imagery. If you are an auditory learner you will probably not enjoy nor benefit much from practicing creative visualization. You may not ‘see’ what you feel you are supposed to see and creative visualization will feel like a chore to you. Visual learners may enjoy meditating on mandalas or staring into paintings where their imaginations will take them on a beautiful meditative adventure.
Auditory learners like to hear. These people will get the most out of meditations that incorporate sounds or instructions (words.) They are more likely to enjoy mantra meditations (repeating words or a phrase) or meditating to music where they can become lost in the sound, ‘riding’ the wave of the music. These people can also benefit from Zen style ‘listening’ meditations where the goal is to concentrate solely on what sounds can be heard or even meditating on the sound and vibration of gongs, chimes or meditation bowls.
A Kinesthetic or tactile learner may really enjoy concentrative meditation where they might sit and stare at a candles flame or the oceans waves, allowing their mind to become completely absorbed in the experience of doing. These individuals often also enjoy focusing on breathing and active meditations like walking meditations or dance meditations. A Visual learner however is likely to find concentrative meditation boring as their minds want to be ‘seeing’ something.
If you or someone you know has tried meditation and found the experience to be less than enjoyable, you (or they) have probably tried or been shown the wrong type of meditation for the individual learning style.
The benefits of meditation are amazing and huge! Well worth incorporating into any lifestyle to improve health and satisfaction in living.
Meditation must be something that is not only healthy but also enjoyable. When you find the right meditation that best suits you individually, you will find yourself enthusiastically making time to meditate. You will also start to see for yourself the many wonderful side effects of meditation that the ancients knew and clinical research has since proven.