Many of us have the mistaken notion that success in meditation is measured by the depth of our feelings of transcendent bliss. It’s quite frustrating when, instead of bliss, we encounter a mind unwilling to focus and intent upon to-do lists, solving problems or re-living resentments. Often, we ask ourselves, “What’s the point?” and we give up meditating because we don’t feel successful. But it’s NOT TRUE!!
Gently returning the mind to the technique each time we notice it has wandered is the process of meditation and that is success.
How do I know? Because, my mind has been in overdrive for months. My meditations have consisted of bringing my mind back to the technique again and again and again and again and again. And yet, I recently experienced a wonderful gift as the result of this simple practice.
I’m not talking about a gift like seeing auras or reading minds. I’m talking about the gift of a moment when I could observe a very emotional situation and respond with compassion rather than react from ego. In the past I would have, my ego would have, reacted with anger, blame, defensiveness and willful attachment to my position.
But this time, even after an intense hour, I was able to calmly observe and bring my mind back to center over and over again. From that center I was able to respond with gentle sincere words that conveyed, “I care about you. How can I help? How can I be a part of the solution?”
I realized as I left the meeting that I had just experienced a moment of transformation. In the heat the moment I didn’t react with anger or defensiveness. I stayed calm and responded with compassion and clarity — without a doubt the direct result of my meditation practice!
And it didn’t come from months of practice filled with meditative bliss. It came from months of observing my mind in overdrive and gently returning my focus to the technique over and over and over again.
The success of my meditation is not measured by how I feel on the cushion but rather by how I respond to those around me.