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How To Set Yourself Up For Success In Meditation
I remember the day I decided that I was going to get really serious about meditation. It had become apparent that the practice was meant to be my guide on a much-needed healing journey. There was this magnetism I felt pulling me towards it that was quite unexplainable. Deep down, I knew I simply had to move towards it and give it my absolute all.
It's in these moments of full commitment that we really start to engage with our concepts of success. In many ways, we are programmed and conditioned to expect success if we work hard and truly give something our 100% effort. When it comes to meditation, quite marvelously these ideals and expectations are challenged. Our usual way of approaching "going for what we want" doesn't directly translate here. On one hand, there is no such thing as success or absolute achievement in meditation - striving for success is actually one of the quickest pathways to disappointment. Because as you come to find out, the essence of meditation is when you notice that you are doing something different than what you set out to do.
However, even though our usual approaches to success are not directly applicable to the practice itself, there are other forms of success when it comes to meditation. And there are definitely ways of setting yourself up for "success" and enjoying the small "successes" in subtle ways.
How To Set Yourself Up For Success
This is how I define success in meditation:
1. Success in meditation is all about showing up. When you show up to the practice, you are successful.
2. The shifts in daily life are the successes - shifting is succeeding
Success in meditation is all about showing up to the practice.
As mentioned in a previous post, the art of approaching practice, how you take your first step towards meditation will dictate your actual experience in meditation.
What also dictates success is creating the right conditions that enable you to show up to your practice. This includes approaching your meditation with the right attitude. The attitude of wanting to understand the true nature of your mind, heart and life. The attitude of wanting to meet your life directly and really learn what it means to be alive for it. The attitude of self-discovery and exploration - a willingness to take a peek into the inner-workings of your very own mind. With these kind of attitudes you will be successful in your approach to your practice making it easier to consistently show up. Success is the consistent act of showing up.
The shifts in daily life are the successes - shifting is succeeding
Though you may set out for a big, life-changing overhaul, what we know is that the practice starts to show up in small and subtle ways at first. These minute moments are the seemingly ordinary times when you notice yourself shift into a less-reactive response, or you take a breath before speaking, or you become more patient in line... These daily shifts are the small "wins" that end up mounting to a larger experience of success through meditation. You feel happier, more relaxed, more spacious, less anxious and when you do feel stressed, it doesn't become a personal catastrophe quite as much.
When you embark down the path of meditation, there will come a time when you become so committed to your practice, that your definition of success becomes the effortless expression of this commitment. You will feel successful because contentment is how you know you have succeeded, and you see yourself change with each present moment that unfolds.