It’s fun to look back and consider this!
When I started to meditate back in 1999, I would have imagined myself levitating by now! Surely even a little bit off the floor would be possible. I’m sorry to share that I haven’t seen much progress in areas like that. But what has happened has, in it’s own quiet way, been more impressive to me.
Here are the three things that meditation has brought me.
Over time my concentration gradually deepened. It took me about a year of regular practice to develop a steady ability to focus. That means that it’s usually easy to put my mind onto something (both in meditation and during the day) and it will stay there. It’s also easy enough to move my mind from one place to another when I want to.
This is nothing really special. It happens to everyone who learns how to meditate and practices fairly consistently for a length of time. But it feels nice. It’s actually an enjoyable experience to drop into a deep level of concentration. Concentration becomes something that takes very little effort, in fact in meditation texts it’s often called “practised ease”.
Insight or Wisdom,
This an ongoing thing, and after all this time it’s something that I still feel like a novice at. Basically, because of the practice, you become better and better at noticing the patterns in your thoughts and in your life. Being able to see these habits clearly is very different to being tangled up in them. By seeing the habits that hold us back and by having some acceptance around them, they begin to fall away… We become more able to respond to life instead of reacting to it. We become more free.
A lovely thing that comes from developing concentration and insight is that we gradually start to live closer and closer to our values. It’s not at all like forcing things or trying to follow rules to be a good person. It’s more that living a certain way feels like the natural thing to do. We become more and more able to spontaneously know how to act in any given situation. Life becomes less automatic, less about just following habits. How we live becomes more playful and natural.
These three trainings, Concentration, Insight and Natural Morality each help the other to develop. They are all connected.
So, while levitation has evaded me, I’m very grateful for all that meditation has brought me.
Until next time…
Keith Horan and The Mindfulness Community