HOW WE CAN KNOW IF OUR PRACTICE IS ACTUALLY GETTING US RESULTS
It is natural for beginners to be skeptical about the effectiveness of a meditation practice. In this article, we will discuss ‘signs and symptoms’ that can help us understand whether our meditation practice is working or not.
First, let us discuss what not to expect from meditation. Meditation is practiced not for any particular experience. We can have all sorts of beautiful experiences during our meditation. While such experiences are indicators of progress, they have to be regarded as ‘passing scenery’. Giving too much importance to them during meditation leads to attachment and creates expectations. We certainly can enjoy them when they come. But, they come and go. When we are meditating, we are searching for something that does not come and go. We are searching for something that is unshakable and immovable. We are searching for the truth.
How we feel during our daily activities is the best indicator of the effectiveness of our practice. If we feel refreshed, calm and balanced, then the practice is doing its job.
The unfolding of our true nature through the practice of meditation takes time. Because the changes are gradual, it is easy not to notice them, especially for the practitioner. However, we may find the following changes happening in our lives as time passes. These changes indicate that meditation is working for us.
1) Others may notice subtle changes in us. They may appreciate our calmness, equanimity etc.
2) We may find our relationships and other life situations improving without much effort on our part.
3) We may find our circle of concern becoming very small. What does that mean? Traumatic situations do not affect us as much as before. Does that reduce our ability to take effective action? Absolutely not. In fact, our actions become empowered by the growing wisdom and stillness within us.
4) We may find beauty and sacredness in the tiny ‘insignificant’ moments of life. Most important of all, we may find enjoying ourselves ‘here and now’.
The best approach is to ensure that we have a strong habit or practice in place. If we can do that, we will achieve something that is beyond our wildest dreams. We will find unshakable bliss, ecstasy and infinite joy.