Author: Robert Hackman

by Robert Hackman Robert Hackman No Comments

Confessions of a Lousy Meditator

By Keegan Houser on Unsplash

Feel your feelings, know life’s on your side

They call meditation, don’t be afraid of something new

It might take practice; it is very good for you


Lyrics from ‘The Meditation Song’

By Aunty Mojo


Yes, I pronounce this with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Meditation practitioners inform me there is no such thing. I know better too, or do I?!

To utter this admission is to miss the point of meditation entirely. Which is my point exactly. Please, allow me to explain.


Meditators inform me, thoughts are an inevitable part of meditation, even if I have them every two seconds. Hah! I only wish I could hold them at bay for that long. I frequently find myself off on another tangential thought while preparing to focus on my breath. Sigh, I am off again.

I do not employ ease. There is no gently guiding myself back from my thoughts as I am encouraged to do.

My response is more akin to yanking the neck of a headstrong dog harnessed with an unjustly named ‘gentle’ lead, with heaps of self-criticism and admonishment. Four out of five canines agree. I digress again.

‘What is wrong with me?!” Realizing I have breached another tenant of mindfulness, ‘just’ noticing.

I am sorry there is no ‘just’ about it for me. I am fighting for my meditation life here and drowning in the process.

Failing to keep my eyes closed, not a requirement in meditation, represents another infraction. Resisting the temptation to look at the clock to determine how much more time I must endure my ineptitude. What, I have four and a half minutes remaining in a five-minute meditation? The nerve!

Somehow my ‘white knuckle’ serenity does not fit the Buddha or Dalai Lama images to which I aspire. Nor do they bear any recognizable resemblance to them. I do not even warrant a runt of the litter status in the mediation community to which I yearn to belong.

My understanding informs me I can lean into feeling the world’s pain as I deepen my meditation practice. Wait, what? Nothing could seem more distant or unattainable to me.

Like me attempting to sit cross-legged or, worse yet, hold some pretzel-like yoga-mediation poses, prevented by my bowed legs and lack of flexibility; rheumatoid arthritis, anybody? I have a better chance of touching the sun.

I fidget and shift, reaching for my water or cup of coffee, breaking any semblance of ‘presence’ I may have garnered for a millisecond. Sigh! Why do I bother? It is a setup for failure and frustration.


Or is it?

“Perhaps supreme acceptance is on the menu.”

The above are merely opportunities in which I ‘get’ to practice moving down the path from the rejection of self to toleration, begrudging acceptance, and self-love. Even those parts I habitually deny and vote off my own island.

As a friend, coach, and colleague of mine, Ken Mossman, likes to remind anyone willing to listen, ‘A rejection of any part of self is a rejection of self.’

Inclusion and belonging are mostly inside jobs. Our rejection of ‘the other’ represents an outward manifestation of our inner state of self-acceptance, which we project onto others.

Some truths

I have found the practice of daily meditations to be an essential element of self-care and well-being. It enables me to generate safe spaces for others to express themselves freely because I have become ‘safe’ within myself.

“Self-forgiveness, self-compassion, and self-love are worthy strivings, enabling us to show up more fully and powerfully for others. “

Acknowledging and appreciating the unearned grace we receive from others informs us of what is possible.

What would it be like if you could drop your resistance and embrace forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion for yourself, your team, and your organization?

How much more human would they be? To what kind of legacies would they lead? Much closer to the ones you intend, I have found.

Key Take-aways:

  1. Self-deprecating humor safely lightens relationships, injecting fun and play into them.
  2. Inclusion and belonging are mostly inside jobs.
  3. Self-forgiveness, self-compassion, and self-love are worthy strivings, enabling us to show up more fully and powerfully for others.
  4. Daily meditations can be an essential part of self-care and well-being, providing a connective and liberating gateway into feeling the pain of others and the world.

If you want help developing compassion in fun and self-deprecating ways for yourself, your team, or your organization, please reach out to me; I welcome the connection.