Common Practice Questions
How do you know if meditation is working?
You won't see any stats for your progress as a meditator like you do when you're working out in the gym or losing weight, but there are lots of ways to find out if practicing mindfulness meditation is working for you. Though it can feel like meditation takes a long time to work, one way to see if meditation is working is to ask yourself a series of questions about your current experience in day to day life to see where you're at in relation to some of the concepts and practicing in mindfulness meditation. After an initial assessment, come back to the same questions at intervals that makes sense to you and see if things have changed or progressed since the last time you asked yourself the questions. Below are a few example questions to start with.
- Do you notice reactivity more often while it's happening, either while you're meditating or in daily life?
- Are you less immediately reactive to difficult or stressful situations?
- Over time, are you generally becoming aware of your wandering mind more quickly when you're meditating?
- In daily life, the feeling of rushing is good feedback that you're ahead of ourselves, not settled in your body. Do you find that you're rushing less often — or becoming aware of it more quickly?
- Are you more aware of your speech - maybe refraining a little more frequently from angry or judgmental speech?
- Is there a little more openness or mindfulness in being with other people - more willingness to listen?
- Are you becoming a little more familiar with the qualities of equanimity and concentration in the practice?
- Are you using the tool of mental noting, and is it becoming a little more continuous, at least for periods of time? Is it easier for you to make mental notes to yourself in a kind(er) tone?
- Is there a little more ease in being with whatever comes up in your meditation practice, simply noting it for what it is?
- Is it a little easier to sit longer?
- Are you becoming somewhat more aware of the changing nature of all experience and holding onto things a little less?
If you're interested in hearing more from Joseph Goldstein on this, check out the first several sessions from the course Common Questions on the app.
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