Meditation does not work unless you are kind to yourself. Many would-be practitioners go astray because they're mean to themselves. They judge. Nothing they do is good enough. They're failing at something. Comments like these have no place in your inner dialogue at the best of times. It's doubly true when delving into your unconscious mind.
But there is one technique from the art of bullying that makes your meditation smoother and easier. In fact, if you apply this in your life, it resolves pain and even makes you a better negotiator.
Ignore your parents and teachers with this one, because it's the ancient art of name-calling.
Labeling is powerful. There's a reason why schoolyard bullies resort to name-calling. It captures a lot of malice and condemnation in a nice little package.
I do not recommend doing that to anyone, especially yourself.
But when you label things with a neutral mindset, rather than a malicious one …
Well, I'm a big fan of taking tools of evil and using them for good.
During your meditation, you might notice discomfort in your body. Maybe this discomfort was always there and you're now noticing it. Then again, maybe it's from how you're sitting. If adjusting your post helps, then do not wait for my permission to do so. Physical comfort matters a lot when meditating.
If it does not go away after a quick shift or a little wriggle, though, then you resort to name-calling. Friendly name-calling, of course.
With a calm, unjudging and neutral mind, label the sensation. If it feels like a prickle, simply think 'prickle' towards it. If it's a burning, try that instead. Do not worry about accuracy or precision – your attitude is much more important than picking the right label. If you want to keep it simple, use one of three labels: comfort, neutral or discomfort. Anything in your body is going to be one of those.
You might observe the sensation for a moment longer. Or maybe you'd rather move on straight away. Either way, do not dwell on it. You've labeled it, so move on.
This works with physical pain, so long as your attitude is truly benign and accepting. It also works with social pain. If someone objects to your offer, label it in a calm way. “You seem concerned about our prices”, delivered with genuine calm, is more effective than any amount of pleading, bargaining or backpedalling.
Bully your distractions with kindness and they'll leave you alone. Guaranteed.