Are you making progress with your meditation? When you’re new to meditation you often need some reassurance that you’re on the right path. Often it’s hard to tell whether you are making progress or not. I emphasized earlier that one of the things that will help you to stick with your meditation practice is the ability to notice and appreciate small changes.
Starting a meditation practice brings about profound inner changes—calmness, silence, purpose, equanimity—but many of these take place quietly over a period of time. So how do you measure progress in meditation? Here are some unexpected but tangible signs you are on the right path:
Other people noticing that you are changing. Sometimes it’s hard to have a sense of perspective on ourselves. We can easily concentrate on supposed failures to the extent that we completely miss positive changes. Often, my meditation students report that other people notice that they are changing; becoming more relaxed, less reactive, and more friendly.
Concentration Improves. You may notice it in subtle but tangible ways. For instance, my ability to calculate numbers in my head became faster than ever at work. I also began paying more attention to my colleagues versus dismissing them quickly to attack the next item in my mental To-do list. Needless to say, being more present changes your life in wonderful ways. The quality of one’s work improves, relationships deepen and more positive coincidences occur.
Paying more attention. It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads. An important part of meditation is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs
Feelings of calmness. You may have spells of greater than usual calmness in your meditation or after meditation. You may even experience some reluctance to end a period of meditation.
Becoming more aware of your actions and understanding how the mind works. The ancient yogis recognized four parts of the mind that have different functions. When we practice meditation, we begin to understand, integrate and eventually transcend these four parts.
Manas: the everyday mind that gathers information.
Buddhi: the wise, or awakened mind.
Chitta: the storehouse of the mind’s impressions, or the unconscious.
Ahankara: the ego, or the part of mind that identifies with itself and personalizes.
Interesting Experiences Occur in Meditative States. Do you feel a sense of rhythm in your breathing? Perhaps slight shifts in your heartbeat as the body’s subtle movements fall into synchronicity? With every breath, the rhythm in the body is changed, and one’s entire being often feels lighter as distorted frequencies are transformed into the radiance of love. These are signs that you are developing more concentration and awareness in meditation, and you would be wise to pay attention to such experiences.
And the main sign that you’re making progress with your practice, is being more relaxed about making progress! Simply relax, work on your meditation, and don’t worry about how well you’re doing. Keep up with your meditation practice, and the progress will come naturally.
If you made it this far, I want to thank you for reading my words. You clearly have an interest in meditation and I honestly believe it is one of most beautiful gifts we can give ourselves and others. Here some tools to help you on this journey: