‘It takes what is boring, painful and scary about meditating and shows how these struggles can become an invaluable part of our path’
Nigel Wellings, author of Why Can’t I Meditate, talks to the Improvement Zone about the challenges of practicing meditation.
The idea for Why Can’t I Meditate? came from teaching mindfulness courses. While many people valued the course, a significant number didn’t really keep their practice going for long after the course finished. Mindfulness can certainly help us relax and is great for catching thoughts that make us feel depressed and anxious, but it also brings us into a more intimate relationship with ourselves and this was a relationship some people were not sure they wanted. Other teachers confirmed this experience. Yes, lots of good things came out of the course but continuing was tough, and despite wanting to continue, many people simply stopped.
This is where Why Can’t I Meditate? comes in. Full of practical ways to help our mindfulness practice flourish, it also features lots of guidance from a wide spectrum of secular and Buddhist mindfulness teachers and personal accounts by new meditators of what they find hard and what helps. It takes what is boring, painful and scary about meditating and shows how these struggles can become an invaluable part of our path; how we can include all of ourselves, including the parts that don’t want to meditate, within our practice. If you have been considering meditating but doubted your ability, if you are having a hard time continuing or have reluctantly stopped Why Can’t I Meditate? will help you to get your mindfulness practice back on track.
Nigel Wellings is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and author who works within a broadly contemplative perspective. He first attempted to practise mindfulness in his late teens and has been engaged with the relationship between psychotherapy and meditation for the last forty years. With Elizabeth McCormick, he has published several books, including Nothing to Lose: Psychotherapy, Buddhism and Living Life. His essay ‘With Buddha in Mind, Mindfulness-based Psychotherapy in Practice’ was recently published in Crossroads in Psychoanalysis, Buddhism and Mindfulness. He lives in Bath and is a teacher on the Bath and Bristol Mindfulness Courses.