For the students who've completed your training.. now you’ve had some time to play with the meditation on your own. How’s it going? What are you noticing?
Is it simple? Is it easy?
Or are you secretly wondering if there’s more to it than this?
Like if you should be feeling a certain way? And if you’re not feeling this way... then maybe “it's not working”? Oh no!
It’s okay, it’s okay. These are common questions that most everyone has when they start.
I thought I’d reiterate a few of the key concepts now that you’re seeing how this skill fits in your life.
What should meditation be like?
It’s not uncommon to have expectations with meditation.
For many, it’s having no thoughts.
Or for another it may be escaping from reality.
Or going into trance.
Or seeing celestial beings.
Or feeling a warmth.
Or having instant relief from a mind / emotion / body pain.
Or feeling somehow special.
All these expectations need to be tossed over our shoulder. All of them, buh-bye!
Why? Because they violate the one key precept:
I N N O C E N C E
If we come to our meditation time with an idea of what it must be like, then we are setting ourselves up for 100% disappointment.
Because we will inevitably say, “oh no, it’s not working.”
Then if we stop meditating, we'll stop allowing The Pleasantly Unexpected to come to us. Which is what we’re interested in, because there’s no bleeping way our mind can inform us of what The Infinite is like. (It’s impossible to imagine It.)
So remember to approach each and every meditation time with this attitude:
“I have no f****ing clue what this will be like”
and only then will you be building a sustainable practice for life.
"But what should meditation feel like in a ballpark way?" you say. "How do I know I'm not messing up royally?"
First of all, be wary of your mind interjecting a "should." (Life becomes profoundly simpler when the should's are caught and tossed.)
Secondly, it doesn’t feel a certain way.
It may be still and peaceful.
It may have lots of familiar thoughts.
It may have familiar feelings.
It may have energies.
It may have oodles of creative thoughts.
You may notice your body responding in surprising ways.
All are okay. Yes, really! The first is easy to accept, but the others seem counter-intuitive to the untrained meditator.
For now, it's important to remember from your course that a busy mind means lots of stress is being burned off of the nervous system.
Secondly, nothing in the mind stays there forever--it all moves on by.
Because when we meditate skillfully, we give our minds and bodies a chance to heal, and to refine our awareness of something far deeper than our thoughts, bodies, and emotions. Yes, it's real, and yes, it's inevitable for everyone.
Notice your expectations from meditation
Look at them!
And then laugh at them. I wanted to be extra-special and have X-Men powers. Isn't that funny? I also wanted to be headache free. Isn't that silly to expect from meditation? Maybe I should learn how my body worked instead? I also wanted to feel enlightened. What does that mean? I had no clue!
Look at them.