How to Get the Most from Your Meditation Practice
Thank you for being part of this journey into meditation.
Now that you've started meditating here are some steps to get the most of your meditation practice.
Being Thankful and Working with Gratitude
Being thankful is probably the most skillful way to develop and be happy. It requires next to no effort and can have a profound affect on you.
If we're really honest with ourselves, so much of the wellness/yoga/guru world is narcissistic. Filled with an endless stream of yoga pics and selfies.
Taking every opportunity to show how cool my zen is.
Just like we talked about with disturbing emotions, this becomes a habit. Every time that bliss-brag goes out into the world we program ourselves.
We program ourselves to hoard the good impressions.
Keeping it so tight that eventually, it slips from our hands.
Until those good feelings finally dry up.
That is why we work with gratitude and express thankfulness every time we meditate. Even better if we bring gratitude into every aspect of our lives.
By being thankful for the good experiences, opportunities, and joys of others we amplify the good impressions in our mind.
Programming our self to recognize the best in every experience and in everyone around us. Creating an internal joy factory that never stops working.
Create, share and be thankful.
And you will always experience and give the best of yourself effortlessly.
Finding a Community of Support
It's been nearly a month, how are you feeling?
Have you started to notice any shifts in your perception?
I hope mostly good, but meditation isn't about om sweet om. It's about working with our mind and developing into our most true and beneficial selves.
When you start digging into the mind inevitably you start to find some weeds. Strange and sometimes unpleasant habits you may have. Or remembering times when you caused harm or enjoyed seeing someone suffer.
At a minimum, we have had our lifetime to accumulate an infinite range of impressions in our mind.
Both nice and not so nice.
Seek Others on Their Journey
As the awareness of the unpleasant stuff arises it becomes increasingly important to have a support system. Of course, it's good to have your friends and family available, but it's especially important to have access to others that meditate.
People in your life that have also started this journey of self-discovery and are actively working through their own experiences.
This can be crucial to keeping yourself on a consistent path as you develop the lifetime habit of meditating.
Whether it's a group of people that all do the same meditation or a digital family that are developmentally orientated. The key is to get feedback.
Feedback that's both sweet and sometimes not so sweet.
It doesn't do us any good if everyone always agrees that you're the best thing ever. Otherwise, how can you learn when you get funny ideas and start eating nothing but carrots?
Don't forget that we all need a little help from our friends along the way.
Exploring Different Meditation Paths
Have you checked out different meditation centers yet?
It's an incredibly wide world to explore. Everything from ancient traditions to far out new age gadgets.
I think people have always been inspired to look inward.
Once the stomach is full and you're nice and warm, the mind naturally starts to contemplate itself. Who am I? How did I become me? Do I need to shower everyday?
You know, the big questions!
Out of this drive to understand ourselves better, methods and techniques evolved to help us gain greater insight. Hindu and Buddhist traditions are especially famous for their use of meditation.
Even our modern day mindfulness meditations can find it's roots in research done on Buddhist techniques.
Be Open. Be Critical.
While meditation methods have long been a part of Eastern culture, it's said that Franciscan nuns have developed their own techniques that produce similar effects in the brain as some Buddhist meditations.
So there is a lot to experience in the mind.
Sometimes if one is open enough to other religions, Buddhism tends to be the most easily accessible for many westerners.
If you prefer to hold on to your existing religion there are a myriad of meditation techniques like those we've used in during this challenge that aren't specific to any religion.
The key is to go in with both a critical and open mind.
While there are a lot of interesting things in the world, it's important to check the teacher you receive meditation instruction from. That the teacher does and say the same things, and is someone you want to learn from.
At the end of the day, the Buddha's advice is sound, "be your own guiding light."
Making Wishes for the Benefit of All Beings
Have you made wishes at the end of meditation yet?
This single act is one of the most clever developmental "hacks" that you should use every time you meditate.
Sometimes referred to as dedications, the making of wishes isn't about you.
It's about everyone else.
While you were meditating you were filling your mind with good impressions. When you're in that centered and blissful state, your mind is experiencing the best of everything ... even if it's subconscious.
So you've done all this work, have this wonderful feeling, now why keep it for yourself?
Give it away!
Give it all away!
We make wishes that all beings can experience such pleasant and joyful experiences. That everyone can experience the most wonderful of everything and quickly develop and help others do the same.
It's also nice to make wishes for any teachers you've had along the way. That they have long healthy lives and can continue to benefit others the way they have benefited you.
Now, why is this such an amazing thing to do?
By doing this it creates a kind of positive impression loop in the mind. Giving away your good impressions amplifies the good impressions!
Very clever, I know.
Even more importantly is this habit of making wishes and dedicating the best of everything to others lets you program yourself.
We can all do with a little brainwashing and tuning your mind toward greater compassion is always a good idea.
So, get the most out of every moment in your life and give it all away!
Everything Is Always Changing So Meditate Now!
Do you look the same as you did ten years ago?
Have the same ideas about the world?
Think the same thoughts?
Obviously, the answer is no. These things are in a constant state of change. Always moving around and becoming something new.
So why do we act like everything will last forever?
That all these conditions have come together that make it possible for us to even think about development. That we in a sense, have such incredible luxury that we can worry so much about ourselves.
When we take a look at the world it's clear most people on this planet are struggling to survive. Always worrying about having enough to eat, getting sick or fearing for their safety.
And my biggest concern is if there is a Starbuck's near my meeting today.
I don't know about you, but I can't see the future. What I do know is I've been high and I've been low.
Sometimes really low.
The only thing I've learned I can count on is everything will change.
That's why it's so important to take advantage of this opportunity.
When we embark on a path of development like meditation, it's good to recognize that it is rare.
Very few people really meditate.
Even in Asian countries that are primarily Buddhist, most of the people rarely if ever meditate.
Meditation is such an incredibly precious gift that we know works and yet so few really use it. Hearing about it in blogs and on Oprah; maybe even buying a meditation cushion.
But our meditation cushions aren't just meant to look pretty -- they are meant to be used. Cushions that slowly fade with the last remnants of your neurosis and confusion.
Meditation isn't something to be kept in ancient books.
It is active and alive!
It changes us in so many ways that we become an extension of meditation. As we grow and develop we become an example of a stable mind.
Because there is no greater gift to the world than a stable mind.