I have been meditating for 17+ years, and teaching different types of meditation since 2005. The practice of meditation really uniquely supports me in specific ways nothing else does.
When I sit down to meditate, several different things might happen for me. This depends on factors I rarely seem to understand.
The first thing that almost always comes up: doubt. This inner impulse says: "now isn't the right time," or "you have other things to do," "you aren't going to have a good meditation," or something in context of the moment that will cast a doubt on the practice actually happening.
This is the negative ego trying to stop the process of meditation before it ever starts. If I believe this inner doubt, I will probably not commit and actually begin. I'll find something else to do instead. Meditation foiled.
If I can make it past the doubt (this is a practice itself), then I can sit and start the meditation.
Here the next stumbling block often arises: I have something else to do: check my iPhone, read an article, make some food to eat, or start the next cool project I've been trying to get to for days/weeks, etc. This is triage: I have to decide if I really DO need to eat, take up that project, check my emails on my iPhone...or if meditation is really the best use of my time. If I am honest, the answer is usually a balancing act: I need to do those things, BUT: meditation will support me so much (and I know this deep inside), it's usually a good use of my time to take at least 20-30 minutes to devote to it.
So I've now made it past two obstacles, and I've only just begun breathing and sitting.
The third obstacle is another form of doubt, and it hasn't gone away after almost two decades: "is this real?" I ask myself. Am I really seeing this light? Can breathing really change my brain state and mind? Now, of course I know and have verification of this -- even in that moment! But the inner voice still nags. Overcoming this gets easier as my mind relaxes into the process, but it still comes up during the meditation as well. Imagination is a bridge, by the way -- trust that too, with a grain of skepticism while remaining open in your heart. Imagination is connected to all levels of your will (human, soul, divine) and it is a powerful ally even though it can be influenced by the ego.
All three of these blocks have a common key for moving past them: will. Not force, but an inner determination to meditate and trust yourself. Meditation is driven by will on a higher level (not your human will); getting in alignment is the goal.
I'd love to hear your stories here about what comes up for you when you meditate -- successes and not-so-successes! There is no such thing as a failed meditation, except the meditation that you don't do. Hopefully this article gives you inspiration to overcome those barriers and actually meditate.