If you speak to most people who have established an extended meditation practice over time, they will tell you how it has changed their lives.
Scientific studies have confirmed the long-term benefits of meditation, including how it improves your focus, intelligence, and responsiveness. Meditation also helps prevent depression as you handle your daily stress better and manage your anxiety. It generally leads to happiness and improves your wellbeing.
The challenge, though, is meditation is not that easy to maintain daily. For beginners sitting still and only breathing to create a sense of calm and not wander off in thoughts is challenging.
In the early days, the progress you make in becoming better at your practice and the change in your general life is little. It may even appear not to be working.
Fortunately, it is working, and if you keep at it daily, you will notice specific improvements in your practice and life. These improvements and changes are what let you know that your meditation is working. They include the following;
Your self-awareness increases
One of the first changes you notice is how much you become aware of your body and environment. You can see simple aspects like your sitting position and adjust it to a healthier one. You can also quickly pick up on the onset of bad moods and take charge to prevent the mod or angry thought from consuming you.
With increased self-awareness, you become rooted in the present. Even your thoughts are on the present and not the past or the future. With this change, you are able to overcome your usual fears and anxiety.
You also have lesser feelings of regret because even when your mind wanders, it is only looking at recent events. You can again start making progress at work or in your other areas of life where you had hit a snag.
You break your usual mental patterns.
The way the human body works, especially in decision-making, is always taking the least resistant path. As such, it is easy to be caught up in a loop of the same behaviors and thoughts, a considerable number of them which could be mindless and without any purpose. These behaviors also prevent you from breaking out your habits and improving your productivity and wellbeing.
With frequent meditation, however, you will be able to break such mental patterns. You have an improved focus, and you are conscious of every action you are doing. So, you can snap out of it and work on your targets or something more purposeful.
You will yearn for your meditation.
Another meaningful sign that your meditation is working is how you will start prioritizing it. While you will have so many reasons and excuses not to meditate at the beginning, soon you will be looking for the respite it provides. Having enjoyed the focus and clarity it offers in your life; you will want to try it out more often.
Daily meditation becomes a priority, and you work to make ample time and preparations for it. With time, you will even be meditating during the day because you have trained your brain on the benefits it gets from meditation.
The increased focus during the meditation
In the beginning, you will struggle to maintain your focus while meditating, and you will hardly be able to do it for more than 10-15 minutes. In the beginning, even with an object to focus on, you will still struggle to keep it in your focus.
With enough practice, however, you will achieve this and reach the dhyana level where you can keep the object.
You also become more adept at progressing from the initial stage to progressively losing a sense of time and your awareness sinking into deeper meditation. You will not be struggling with thoughts but rather let them flow unimpeded in your mind for quality meditation.
You no longer need beginner supporter tools.
As your focus increases, you will also find that your reliance on your beginner tools to get into meditation lessens. To get into a meditation state, you will need to have the proper lighting, mantras to chant, an object to focus on, breathing exercises, and the right sitting posture.
With time, however, your mind gets into a calm state with little support required. You can modify your initial aids or drop them altogether.
With extended practice, you can easily get into the meditation state anywhere and easily conjure up your focus project in your mind. You fall into meditation much easier and faster, even without the extra props.
You are less judgmental to yourself.
Meditation teaches you to let go of thoughts and not old on to them that they become obstacles and reshape your mental perception. With enough practice, you can sit back and view things from an outer perspective.
You become less judgmental of yourself and empathize more. You do not become a slave to your fears and anxieties about the past or the future. You learn to appreciate the gifts in the present moment and recognize the current opportunities you would usually overlook.
More importantly, you become less concerned about the quality of your meditation. You stop comparing the various meditation statement and being worried if you did it correctly. This change is because meditation has an effect that allows you to be less tense and worried about failing.
There is also a cyclic effect in that, with fewer judgments and worries, you get into your meditation sessions calmer, leading to quality sessions, which improves your self-evaluation and opinion about yourself.
Related reading: New to Meditation? Here are the Major Mistakes you can make
Less stress and irritation
With regular meditation, you will become more resilient to stress factors. You will learn to focus more on things that you have control over, and with a clear mind, you can make better choices and discern more opportunities.
These changes have the ripple effect of allowing you to have no stressful aftermath. The things that irritated you the most also lack the same impact since your mind will learn to acknowledge them without letting them take hold of you.
Meditation is a slow burn process, and the early days may seem like you are going through empty motions. However, with good practice and keep to proper guidelines, you will improve your technique and notice positive changes in your life.
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