Published on January 23, 2014
abo ut m e dit at io n.co m http://www.abo utmeditatio n.co m/ho w-to -meditate-pro perly/ How to Meditate Properly: 5 Hidden Signs of Your Success Morgan Dix Learning how to meditate properly Meditation is deceptively simple. Yet most of us approach this practice with preconceived ideas about how to do it. So learning how to meditate properly can be hard, but with a f ew helpf ul tips, you can avoid pitf alls and save time.
As with anything we want to excel at, it takes dedicated practice to achieve mastery over the basics. And with meditation, the basics can take you f ar. Spending time on the f undamentals can bring you rich rewards that last a lif etime, in the f orm of spontaneous access to peace, joy, ease of being, greater f ocus, and much more. As we get started, it’s important to remember that meditation can be challenging, and it’s easy to get lost doing it. If you get stuck, the number one rule is this: relax, don’t worry about it, and keep going. Sometimes, you just don’t know if you are doing it right. When I started my sitting meditation practice about 20 years ago, I can’t tell you how many times I sat there asking myself , “Am I meditating or not? Is this it? Am I doing it right?” So I thought it might be helpf ul to share some tips to help you stay on track as you build up the cornerstones of your practice. Pay attention to these sign posts, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and f rustration. 5 Sure Signs That You’re Learning How to Meditate Properly Stillness Ease of Being Freedom f rom Thought Heightened Awareness Freedom f rom Time 1. Stillness To meditate properly, you need to be still. Pay attention and notice how still you are in your practice. If you f ind that you aren’t moving, like a mountain or a tranquil tree, then you are on the right track. It’s simple, but don’t underestimate the power of being still. Making the noble ef f ort to be still can support your ability to let go of the mind. When you let go of the mind, your awareness is f ree to become vast like the sky. Over time and with consistent practice, being still will transf orm f rom an external physical ef f ort to an inner posture of quiet conf idence and resolution. Don’t be tense in this ef f ort, but stay easy and f ocused. 2. Ease of Being
Deep ease is part of any meditation practice. When we are relaxed, we are f ree f rom stress. We can think more clearly and our body enters into a natural state. When you are sitting still in your meditation, you may be concentrating on your breath, a mantra, your body, or maybe you are allowing your attention to rest on the f ield of awareness itself . But whatever your practice, it’s important to pay attention to the quality of your awareness. Is it tight, constricted, and pressured, or is it spacious, easy, and alert? The goal is to be alert and at ease. Too of ten, as you perf orm your practice, you may be missing the f act that you are deeply at ease. Perhaps there are thoughts f looding your mind. That doesn’t matter, because You can still be relaxed, even if your mind is active or agitated. Pay caref ul attention and don’t get tripped up here. Again, You can be relaxed and easy, even if your mind isn’t. Deep ease of being (while being alert) is a sure sign you are on the right track. 3. Freedom From Thought Many people think that meditation means having no thoughts and achieving a state of consciousness that’s as calm and cool as a still blue pool. No doubt, a quiet mind can be delightf ul, but it’s not necessarily the goal. You don’t want the success or f ailure of your practice to depend on having a quiet mind. There’s no real f reedom in that. When we practice, the most important goal is to ignore your thoughts and not make a big deal about anything that passes across the screen of your awareness. Freedom f rom thought doesn’t mean having no thoughts. It’s much more about an inner posture where we are not reacting to any thoughts – good ones or bad ones. This is subtle, and it is a key part of learning how to meditate properly. So one big indication that you are meditating f or real is when the presence of thought doesn’t move you. There can be lots of thoughts or just a trickle of thoughts, but you don’t really care. None of it is touching you—because you are ignoring the thought stream. When you successf ully ignore your thoughts, that is called f reedom f rom thought, and it is a natural quality of meditation. You could even say that this is the heart of meditation. If your thoughts are moving, but you don’t care and you’re not moving, then you’re on the right track. 4. Heightened Awareness
One thing that happens during deep meditation is that you enter into a state of heightened awareness. As a result, you are more sensitive to stimuli in your environment like sounds, smells, etc. And as you sink into this expanded state of awareness, the boundaries between you and everything else begin to collapse. In this heightened awareness, I f ind that my hearing expands. I become aware of distant sounds like bird calls, car horns, church bells, and children playing. These sounds resonate inside of me and expand my awareness even more. Take note f or yourself — one sign that you are meditating properly is a quality of heightened awareness that expands your senses. And remember, I’m not talking about the kind of sharpened awareness you get f rom a cup of cof f ee. This is more relaxing and altogether dif f erent. This means being prof oundly awake and deeply at ease at the same time. 5. Freedom from Time Yogis and mystics have always said that meditation is a state of consciousness that is timeless. When we meditate, they say, we become aware of eternity, and our experience of time and space expands without limit. Another positive sign that you are meditating properly is when you start f orgetting about time as you practice. It’s weird, but sometimes I meditate deeply f or an hour, and it can f eel like 10 minutes. Try to let go of time and the compulsive addiction to knowing how much time has passed or how much time is lef t. Very interesting things can happen in your awareness when you f orget about time. But f or now, just take comf ort in knowing that if you are f orgetting about time when you are meditating, you are def initely going in the right direction. This is called f reedom f rom time and it is another natural quality or component of deep meditation. I have been meditating f or nearly 20 years, and these 5 signposts never get old f or me. Test these tips f or yourself . Do they help? Learning how to meditate properly takes time, energy, and dedicated practice, but I can tell you f rom experience that the return on investment is immeasurable. By Morgan Dix
About the Author: Morgan had a lif e-changing spiritual experience when he was twenty. Af ter that, meditation became a preoccupying passion f or him. Since then, he has been practicing yoga and meditation on a daily basis. He has learned f rom and studied with a variety of teachers, including Chagdud Tulku, Paramahansa Yogananda, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Chimnoy, and Andrew Cohen. Most recently, he spent thirteen years living and working in a residential spiritual ashram. He comes to About Meditation with a passion f or writing and sharing the depths of what he learns about meditation every day. You can read more of his work at www.aboutmeditation.com. What do you think? Share it now!
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