I have been meditating relatively consistently for about two months. When I first started, I was excited. I found that it did help calm my mind to some extent. However, the effects were not drastic and rather disappointing after the first week. I still felt anxiety and fear looming before, during, and after my meditation. This led me to question the benefits of meditation. I thought to myself, 'Is this doing more harm than good?' 'This might actually be making me feel worse.'
While meditation has not freed me from my anxiety which was my initial hope, the process of meditation has been rather enlightening. My anxiety has not lifted as much as I would like, but I am a work in progress. It has become apparent that meditation is not a cure-all; it's not a magical elixir that can relieve me of all of life's worries. Expecting meditation to instantly provide relief from sadness, pain, or any other negative thought or feeling is unrealistic. When practicing meditation, I need to do away with my expectations. I need not strive for peace and a sense of calm because when I try to achieve serenity, my mind rebels against me, and anxiety takes hold. Likewise, when I try to fight off feelings of pain, hurt, anxiety, sadness, and frustration, these emotions and thoughts intensify. I have realized that trying to get rid of or produce an emotion, has an opposite and undesirable effect.
If you analyze my above-referenced thoughts, you might ask, 'Why can't I strive for anxiety and in turn effectuate happiness and tranquility.' I would conjecture the answer to be: it is difficult to trick yourself into thinking or feeling a certain way. It seems akin to striving for happiness, because isn't that essentially what you're trying to do?
I think the best approach is to just allow your thoughts to flow freely without trying to force anything really. To be honest, I am feeling a bit doubtful and fearful about my next meditation session, because it might lead to the discomfort and anxiety I experienced during tonight's session. However, rather than struggling to ward myself of these negative thoughts, I am going to accept them. After all, I realize that these thoughts will eventually surrender and pass as all thoughts do.