Evaluating Your Meditation Practice

Tricycle.com is no doubt one of the absolute best online resources and supports for your spiritual practice. They have such a wealth of information available on the site and every day there is something new and insightful to read. The other day I came upon this article about evaluating your meditation practice. I realized that I evaluated mine in a vague sort of way, with no real direction or criteria, but Gil Fronsdal lays out some really specific ways to look at your practice, which are very helpful.

Our motivation can be to awaken and cultivate beautiful qualities of the heart and mind—love, peace, courage, compassion, insight, understanding, the pursuit of the truth and liberation. Developing these qualities does not need to be for oneself. Sometimes my primary motivation to practice has been not for my own sake but for other people. In fact, I believe that if you do it only for yourself, you are unlikely to sustain your motivation over many years. A significant way to fuel meditation practice is to do it with the wish that it will somehow benefit others as well as yourself.

There are long-term and short-term motivations. Experiences of realization may be worthy long-term goals, but in the short term it can be useful to have modest aims such as cultivating small but noticeable improvements in concentration, nondistraction, compassion, or patience, as well as small, immediate movements toward letting go and experiencing freedom. I have found there is a beautiful way in which practicing with immediate, realistic goals allows for a steady maturing into some of the more developed areas of meditation practice.

Read the full article here

Developing A Regular Meditation Practice

I was looking at some of the older posts on this blog and when I first launched it I was still off and on with meditation. These days I’m happy to say I do have a regular practice. I meditate on average about 5 times per week for 20 – 30 minutes. In retrospect here are a few of the factors that helped me finally develop a regular practice.

Find the time of day that suits you best

I experimented meditating at various times of the day. I found that in the evening I was apt to fall asleep, or just skip it if I was already too tired. Midday or afternoon meditations were pleasant but on days where I was busy or felt stressed about work, I found that I didn’t allow myself the time to meditate.  Mornings turned out to be the best time for me. I get up, go set the coffee-maker (doing this activity wakes me up so that I don’t fall back asleep on the cushion!), then settle down to meditate. Continue reading “Developing A Regular Meditation Practice”

An Expanding and Contracting Being

I heard a nice thing in meditation group last night.

I’m paraphrasing but this is what was basically said:

“The more you practice meditation, the less focused on your breathing and thinking you are. Eventually you just become an expanding and contracting being.”

I’ve experienced this sensation for a few moments here and there. It’s interesting to see how the mind reacts. Usually something along the lines of  “Wow, I’m not doing this (breathing)…something else is.” The I here is the thinking self that assumes it does everything!

Have you experienced this?