You've been meditating! Great! Even if you are still only doing five to ten minutes a day, that means you're making progress and sticking with it, and that's a huge part of the process!
So, uh... what's the rest of the process, you ask? Well, honestly it's mostly just a matter of practice. I've given you some advice so far to set you on a good path, but where does it all go from here?
In some ways, that's a trick question, because with meditation, there's no emerald city- it's all yellow brick road. It seems paradoxical to the Western mind, which is used to binaries and linear understandings. But with practice, the fine distinctions that we have become accustomed to making will become less defined, and though the road is often a difficult one, I truly believe that, in the context of my personal journey at least, it has lead me to be a healthier, happier and more productive person.
So, let's go back to our scenario where you've started to meditate every day. You've committed 5 Minutes a Day, and you've learned a few basic practices that have allowed you to better understand what's going on in your body and mind. But there's so much out there to learn! Even though we've talked about how there is no “right way” to meditate, there is fascinating world of psychology, neuroscience and history out there that might provide you with more insight into what it means to meditate.
Let's start by considering the possibility of a retreat. There are many kinds of retreats all over the world, that teach many different aspects of meditation and mindfulness. For now, let's not even worry about the specifics of which group you may want to look into. Instead, let's take a look into ourselves to figure out what might be your best approach to furthering your studies in meditation. Here's your homework assignment for this week- look at these three questions, and answer them as truthfully as possible. Think these over long and hard, and we'll talk more next week...
1. How Much Time Am I Currently Able To Stand Meditating? This one's easy- how many minutes per day are you currently able to devote to meditation? What are the factors in your life that limit the amount of time you can meditate? Do you work 6+ days a week? Are you tired? Do you have kids who require your care and attention? Or are you struggling to see the value of the practice?
2. How Deep is My Interest in Meditation? This is the question that may require the most brutal honesty on your part. Are you struggling to continue practicing for just 5 minutes a day? Or, do you find yourself becoming more and more interested in what you're discovering about yourself, your mind, body, and about the cosmos? What aspect of meditation is the most interesting to you?
3. How Much Time Can I Reasonably Devote to Meditation? Though many things about meditation, bodywork and polarity therapy may seem to be (and often are) inscrutably mystical and touch upon deeply spiritual principles the likes of which science is only beginning to scratch the surface of, it's extremely import that we never lose sight of the importance of the logistics of everyday life. Refer back to the questions raised in question 1, and try to envision ways to move your busy schedule around so you can accommodate longer sessions. What is the largest commitment to meditation you can see yourself making in the next month?
And that's it for now! Seriously, these are simple questions, but the more you consider them, the more questions you may find they raise. Don't worry! We'll address many of your potential answers next week when we continue to examine the Whys, Who's and How's of going to Meditation workshops and retreats! Until then,