Does EVERY meditation have to go DEEP to be classed as a meditation?
Is there a point when you never have to paddle in the shallow end again?
How do you progress in meditation?
Advanced, experienced meditators find some days they are unable to get to the deeper states, they have experienced many times. This notion, of meditation practice leading to deeper states and then you never have to go back to battling a busy mind, is a myth (until you reach Tranquil Abiding).
An expert in meditation is such, not because they never have a busy mind but because they have stopped struggling, have done their time in meditation, and never given up on the process. I tend to talk about meditation as a process. As a process, you do not have to worry about achieving the goal (this creates stress). Instead, your goal is to meditate (without expectations) and meditate some more. Thereby giving your mind and body the chance to heal your stress – which leads to experiencing peaceful states (but not all the time).
I liken it to a game of snakes and ladders (see my future post on this). Although it may seem as if you are climbing the ladder of success with your meditation (for a little while), it is inevitable you shall land on a snake and feel as if you are back to the beginning. Some days you are up. Then, for no apparent reason, you are struggling to find the peace you expect. This process is entirely natural.
On the days when your meditation sucks, it gives you a chance to practise patience, to be gentle with yourself and use mindful awareness while relaxing into the tension created by expectation.
My definition of meditation is: “A family of intentional activities that produce psychological changes“. The “family” is the three (or more) DNA strands that make-up meditation. If you are intentionally using the three core DNA strands* of meditation – to try to relax, and focus on trying to observe your stresses and strains (expectations?) – then you are meditating, even though it doesn’t feel like it.
* The online course tells you all about those 3 DNA strands of meditation – enrollment is FREE today