Join Scott Shute for an in-depth discussion in this video Am I doing it right?, part of Mindful Meditations for Work and Life.
- [Announcer] Some of the common questions I hear from people about meditation are, am I doing this right? Or how do I know if this is working? Well this practice can be subtle and it can takes some time. For me personally I like to keep it simple. I ask myself, do I feel better after I'm done compared to when I started? This is a good starting point, but it's also not perfect because there may be times when things come up during meditation that are unpleasant. It doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong, I'm just more aware. But typically I do feel more relaxed and more calm and have more clarity when I'm done. During a meditation if you're wondering, am I doing this right, the most important thing to remember in the moment is just relax, don't worry about it, keep going. Here are a few other sign posts you can watch for during meditation to determine if you're on track. The first is freedom from thought. Many people think that meditation is about not having thoughts. Not quite. The mind is going to produce thoughts, that's what it does. One important goal is to ignore the thoughts we do have. We notice them, we let them pass by, but we stay neutral. Our thoughts are moving by, but we aren't moving with them. We're not tossed around by them. We're free from our thoughts. The next sign post is heightened awareness. When we meditate we often enter a state where we become more sensitive to outside stimulus. The ambulance sirens, the hum of the air conditioning, maybe the kids playing outside. We become at ease and profoundly awake at the same time. A third sign post that you're doing it right is stillness, the quality of stillness. One of the simple, but not easy things to do, is to just be still. The quality of our stillness often informs the quality of our practice. So freedom from thought, heightened awareness, and stillness are just a few of the ways we can gauge our practice during a session. Over time if you're wondering if you're making progress in your overall practice, you may look for changes in yourself to gauge whether it's working for you. First of all has this become a priority, are you prioritizing your practice. Is it becoming more regular and a more important part of your routine. Is your awareness increasing. Perhaps you're becoming more aware of others around you. And do you have a bit more space to operate versus just reacting to life. Are you becoming more open, more curious. For me personally I've been doing this long enough to now notice when things are a bit off. If I find myself really out of balance, maybe in a kind of funk, I ask myself, hey, have you been putting in the work? And during those times the answer is almost always no and that's a good reminder to get back at it, to redevelop my efforts with the practice. So start to notice both during your practice as well as over time the subtle and not so subtle changes that you're experiencing.
- Adapting your posture and body language
- Breathing exercises
- Arrival practice
- Body scanning
- Loving kindness
- Sound-based exercise
- Keeping your meditation practice going