Dynamics of Meditation:
When effort is involved in meditation, you are progressing. When meditation is too easy, you fall into a comfort zone but make no progress. What happens when meditation becomes so difficult that you cannot sit, relax and practice it? Where do you draw the line between ease and effort? It comes down to understanding meditation itself.
Effort is critical in meditation. There is not much physical effort – you are just trying to relax your mind and body by sitting quiet, but there is a constant effort to stay awake, to sit still, and to not drift in thoughts. The objective of meditation is to relax your mind and body, but you can’t do it right away because of everything you’ve been taught; your habits, your upbringing, and your knowledge somehow makes relaxing difficult.
When you close your eyes, you want to allow the mind to settle, to find a quiet zone, and to be relaxed. Non-stop thinking has put your mind into a state of constant disturbance. When you try to relax, your mind gets confused, because you have never taught your mind how to relax.
Although relaxation, peace, and bliss are your very nature, your own learning has taken you far away from this internal zone of peace and bliss. There will obviously be moments when you will feel that it is too much of an effort to meditate. During those moments, your accumulated knowledge and your habits will have the strongest grip on your mind and body.
Let’s say you want to meditate between eleven and midnight. You are accustomed to going to bed at eleven, so this schedule will be the hardest of meditations. Although you are just telling your mind and body to relax and sit quiet, you will keep falling asleep. You need to put in the effort to stay awake, because your habits are taking you into the same pattern of sleep, while you are trying to break away from them. This is where you need to realize that when there is effort involved in meditation, it is good.