There are a number of things advanced meditation students are doing that are impeding their progress. Assuming you want to progress quickly through the stages of meditation and see some tangible benefit to your practice, you are always looking for new ways to go about things. Read these two meditation tips and see if they might apply to you.
Advanced meditators want a formula. They want step by step instructions to do this, that and the other thing – and a guarantee to get further than they presently are. I would love to give you that – if it worked. But really, that is not the problem. This problem is that you are not dedicated to your practice. I don’t mean you’re not sitting enough. Everyone in the far stages of the game seem to be able to sit for hours on end meditating.
What matters is not length of time spent meditating, it’s the effort you use while there. Sit and watch the breath… if thoughts or other distractions like pain, tickles, sounds, heat, cold, or other things pull you away – refocus on the breath at that tiny spot inside your nostrils. Concentrate on watching each breath come in and out right at that spot. Watch it over and over.
When explained verbally like that – it sounds easy. Guess what? All you need to do is follow that. Really, that’s just about the entire game of meditation – right there.
It is far from easy. Some find it easier than others – and Jhana levels come, a lot of new experiences come… and they are on the way to wherever they are going. Most people just cannot continually refocus the mind on the breathing – time, after time, after time… thousands of times. You don’t need more instruction. You don’t need more time sitting. You just need to work while you are sitting. Work while you are doing walking meditation. Work at being mindful outside of meditation.
Another real problem for advanced meditators is – they WANT IT too much.
This might be even bigger than the previous stumbling block.
Wanting = attachment, which = failure. Failure to go forward.
Meditation requires letting go of all resistance, fluff, experiences, and attachment in the mind. Unfortunately, the vast majority of meditators across the globe first read many books and then find a group and teacher to help teach them meditation. It’s my opinion that if you do that – you’re going about meditation the wrong way.
If your entire goal, and all efforts, all thoughts, all knowledge you accumulate – is to get to first Jhana… you’re going to have a really difficult time of it. Ask the hundreds of thousands of monks in Thailand and across Asia. There are very, very few that have even experienced Jhana. Fewer still who experience it regularly.
Why is that?
Monks want it worse than any other meditators.
Instead of going about meditation like that – where you have a goal to reach Jhana or some other experience… revise your goal and give yourself half a chance.
Revise your goal to…
I’m going to meditate to find relaxation.
If you find relaxation, then you’re already winning… the goal is yours. Continue on doing it.
When you restate your goal this way, and take the focus off attaining some level of Jhana – you are reconditioning the mind in a way that can let you move forward when the time comes. You’ll need to say it over and over to yourself as a mantra so you believe it.
What will happen when you get close to Jhana is, you’ll not be thrilled about it. The goal is relaxation. First Jhana isn’t necessarily that… it’s filled with emotion really – rapturous joy. When you start to experience first Jhana – you’ll let it happen and not attach to it nearly as much as if it was the goal.
When you first experience Jhana you will see – it’s maybe the most momentous experience you’ve ever had in your life – certainly the most extreme thing your consciousness has ever experienced. If your goal is to keep that up – you’ll attach to it very strongly – and it will elude you forever more.
Instead… if you make your goal relaxation… you’ll have Jhana – not be that impressed, and it will come again. Eventually 2nd, 3rd, and the rest follow. Each one you must not get too excited about – and focus just on relaxation and letting go of all hindrances that pop up – mostly attachment to getting to Jhana.
When I first started meditating I didn’t even know what Jhana was. I knew there might be strange experiences I came up against… but I knew that I should ignore them and not get carried away by them. I let them go… Sometimes if I planned to get up in a certain amount of time – and yet I was into the Jhanas – I’d just get up and go do whatever I had to do. I gave the Jhanas no respect at all. What happened then was that they came so easily I hardly needed to do anything. Really – this is one of the very little known keys to getting through Jhana levels.
See how you would have been better off to start meditating for “relaxation” as a goal – instead of attaining something?
See how much easier it is for beginners to do so before they get wrapped up in the idea that Jhana is going to save their life, and save the entire planet once enough people know about it?
I have explained the very simple process of meditation in the book at the top right column on this page. It’s cheap, and it can help you immeasurably. If you cannot afford the $2.99, write me and I’ll give it to you.