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Why is Meditation So Hard?

And what I discovered to make it easy

By Jessie Puryear, Owner, Urban Float University Place

Photo by Samantha Tillman

It was 2004, I was a newly Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Navy. I had just reported to my first Command as an Officer. I found that there were situations in which I felt overwhelmed, to the point of my hands shaking, my mind becoming locked, unable to think, literally stuck. I immediately began to seek out something that would help me work through those situations. I knew that I was not interested in taking medications. I wanted to find a holistic method; I felt meditation could help me. I read the research and knew the benefits it provided would help. So, I bought a book, I took it home and read it, cover to cover, and tried to follow the instructions. I tried and tried and tried. With every ounce of determination, I could not get my mind into a meditative state, not even a little. Everything distracted me, every noise, shadows on the wall, cars driving by outside, the cat, my thoughts … I mean everything! So, for one of the few times in my life, I gave up.

Flash forward to 2015, I was sitting in a symposium, its purpose to teach us how to be better leaders, and how part of being a good leader is taking care of ourselves. There on one of the PowerPoint slides was the word “floating.” Immediately curious, I Googled it. I was intrigued. I then Googled floating near me. I made an appointment for my wife and I to try it out.

It was amazing! For the first time ever, I was able to get my mind into a meditative state. In the float tank, there were no distractions from light, or sound, and once I learned to quiet my mind it was the most relaxed I had ever felt. But the benefits did not stop there. As my body relaxed, my back pain subsided. It was complete relaxation at an unrealized level. The more I floated, other benefits became more obvious. When I found myself in stressful situations that would have triggered my anxiety, I now stayed calm, my mind engaged, I was able to work through the situation, calmly. It raised my confidence and ability to push myself. The ability to quiet my mind and body in the chaos, on demand, became my superpower.

In that moment I knew what I wanted to do after I retired from the Navy. I wanted to share this wellness method with the people of the South Sound. In November 2018, I opened an Urban Float location in University Place. Floating is a great way to practice meditation and exercise being present. In fact, without any external stimulation, it can be difficult to do anything but live in the moment while your sense of self melts into the water and air around you.

So this year, do yourself—and your loved ones—a favor. Treat yourself not just to a pleasant and relaxing experience, but form that meaningful connection with who you are deep down. Go for a float, become one with the nothingness you are surrounded in, and come out ready to give everything you’ve got to those who need it. With the way this past year has been, it is more important than ever to look out for each other, and that starts by looking out for yourself.

Urban Float is open six days a week, and in addition to floating offers infrared sauna and red-light therapy. For additional information, visit

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