3 questions to check your mindfulness progressNathalie H
I am often asked the following question:
How can I know if I am making progress with my mindfulness meditation practice?
First of all, when it comes down to mindfulness, it is crucial to let go of expectations, the perfectionist and competitive mindset nurtured by us in the west. The best attitude to cultivate towards your practice is a relaxed, patient, disciplined and vigilant approach.
If one can sit still for 10-30 min a day and have a peaceful experience, fantastic! However, this is not the best yardstick for measuring the progress of your mindfulness practice. Instead, what you experience with your eyes open is way more important.
A reliable way to see if you are really making progress is to reflect on the following:
- Am I becoming more responsive and less reactive to challenging situations?
- Am I becoming more patient and kind and compassionate to myself and others?
- Am I becoming less selfish, angry, worried and fearful?
Below is a short story by my teacher, a Thai Theravada Buddhist monk, on this topic:
“A yogi was meditating on a cave in the Himalayas. After several years of experiencing samadhi – a state of deep concentration, stillness, and peace – he thought he was enlightened. So the yogi decided to make his way back to the village. As he walked down through the farmers market a little boy stepped on his feet. He reacted angrily, realised there was more work to be done and went back to his cave. ”
As you progress with your practice and become a more mature meditator you will still experience anger, fear, greed, selfishness, worry, etc. The difference is that those emotional afflictions will become less and less common and you will react less. Whenever they occur, you will no longer be caught by surprise. You will often be able to notice those feelings or mental states arising and manifesting in your body and mind and therefore be able to consciously and skillfully respond to them. That is freedom!
If you have any questions, comments or insights let me know. I will be happy to reply to your comments, private message or have a chat offline.
Until then best of luck with your mindfulness meditation practice!
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