Those who have been meditating for a while know that, every now and then, it can be helpful to take a look at one’s practice to access whether or not a person’s meditation goals are being achieved. While it’s important not to have expectations when it comes to meditation, checking in with yourself from time to time to determine if your practice might need some fine tuning or improvement can make a big difference.
Gil Fronsdal, in his latest Tricycle post, discusses certain things to look for when accessing a meditation practice. At the top of his list is the need to check in with a person’s motivation for the practice. By taking into consideration who you are as a person, does your motivation match? Fronsdal also suggests considering whether or not a person’s life is balanced enough to accommodate a meditation practice or if a practice adds more stress. Important, according to Fronsdal, is looking honestly at the meditation benefits you are or are not receiving from a particular practice.
Over time, meditation should bring some clear benefits such as greater compassion, joy, ease, and self-understanding. Some people discover greater capacities for courage and resolve. Others feel increased appreciation and gratitude. And hopefully, one finds increased experiences of freedom. If after a of couple years of regular meditation practice one doesn’t experience any of these benefits, it is important to reevaluate what one is doing. Perhaps the criteria given above could help to discover some way that the meditation can be improved. Or perhaps it is time to discuss one’s meditation practice with a good teacher. However, sooner or later I hope that all meditators can become their own teachers. Learning to evaluate one’s own practice wisely is an important step toward such independence.
Read more from Gil Fronsdal on re-evaluating your meditation practice here.