What is Supposed To Happen In Mindfulness Meditation?
What is Supposed To Happen
During Mindfulness Meditation?
I frequently hear questions like, how do I stay with the breath longer? And comments like, I still cannot stay focused or I didn’t meditate but was Mindful during the day. A lot of people give up on Mindfulness meditation or even avoid it because of believing that they are supposed to stop thinking and stay focused on the breath. And that that’s all there is to it. It’s like the first time I ever went to yoga, I felt painfully intimidated. Within the first 20 minutes, I rolled up the mat and ran out of that room as fast as I could. Luckily, I went back a year later. But I missed out, for a whole year, on the benefits of yoga and it was only because I had forgotten how tough it was that I went back.
There are too many people getting discouraged when they fail at staying focused, or at not thinking during Mindfulness Meditation. Others, who wish to stay with it find a way to get over this hurdle by doing just a few minutes and feel satisfied by having a bit more awareness during daily activities. But, deep down, they too are not really happy with their meditation practice. They believe they can’t do it, which is harmful onto itself. What they haven’t come to see is that because we are dealing with a complex mind, the strategy of directing attention alone is not enough to help empty the mind and sustainable. Nor is it enough to sustain the benefits of a peaceful steady mind during the day.
So, What Is Supposed Happen In Meditation?
Having no thoughts, empty mind and peacefulness are worthy and attainable goals. Ajahn Sucitto, a prominent Buddhist teacher, explains what one would be experiencing during meditation, when the person uses the right tools and strategies.
- “A relief, accompanied by the enjoyment of feeling at home”
- “A matter of settling into a unified state, unification”
- “Food for the heart with immediate result of happiness”
- “Happiness born of unplugging from stress”
I have heard my own teacher, Ajahn Pasanno, explain the state we are looking for in meditation as: Settling down of everything, not just the mind, but also the heart, the body; a steadiness that does not come from forcing the mind to behave in a certain way, but from releasing all desires and expectations of how the meditation should go. It’s like having no remorse about a past action, or the feeling contentment from knowing that you have done enough in some area of life. There is a natural letting go of doing more. This can be blissful, turning into rapture in the heart as a sustainable pleasant happiness. It’s an experience to have and it is very possible to have it. This of course, needs more work than just trying to focus. It takes Wisdom / discernment, Mindfulness and Right Effort.
So, How Might One Accomplish Such Unified Happy State?
Ajahn Sucitto in his book, Samadhi (concentration) is Pure Enjoyment explains that in order to experience the above while practicing meditation one should tend to:
- “Widening to include wise reflection on the cause and effect”
- “Inclusion of the heart in all that we do”
- “Purifying and cleansing the heart”
These are some of the factors we have been looking at in the Mindfulness of Five Realities For Happiness class. To expand the understanding of cause and effect and what it takes to empty the mind for a sustainable happiness, which extends the skills learned outside of meditation into our daily life and interactions with other, specially during tough encounters.
This is helpful information to not get discouraged on the inability to focus and rather to pursue to understand more and achieve Right Concentration. You can find more information in the book Samadhi (concentration) is Pure Enjoyment. and or you may take the course with us and learn how to put to these concepts and strategies to practice