Am I doing it right?
This week at Mindful Therapies we ran a meditation workshop called ‘Am I doing it right?’ This was an opportunity for people with some experience of meditation to discuss their practice with others. Although we meditate in a group, the practice of meditation is quite a solitary experience, in that it takes place inside our own heads as we sit, usually with our eyes closed. This can often mean that we find ourselves comparing our meditation to what we imagine is happening for everyone else. Somehow everyone else looks so serene while we are sitting planning our shopping lists!
It is difficult to know what is normal when practising meditation. Talking about our practice is like sharing our inner world, or talking about our dreams. It is something we very rarely do so we can be left with the belief that our experience is wrong or is different to other people’s. And yet, in mindfulness, there is no right or wrong way to experience our practice. It is simply about becoming aware of what is happening in the present moment.
So my invitation for you is to actually pay attention to what is happening when you meditate. Ask yourself some questions. You may even write down your answers in a meditation journal:
- What do you see when you meditate?
- What emotions do you experience when you meditate?
- What thoughts do you experience when you meditate?
- How do you manage thoughts and other distractions?
- What bodily sensations do you experience when you meditate?
- Have you ever been frightened by a meditation experience?
Mindful Therapies teaches a secular form of mindfulness and yet many people, when meditating, have experiences that could be described as spiritual, or even transcendental. We may see colours or have bodily sensations that are difficult to explain. This can be frightening at first. But it can also be very pleasant. If you have the opportunity, it can be really helpful to talk to an experienced meditator about your practice. Or maybe find a meditation group where people can discuss what happens when they sit.
Sometimes when you meditate, blissful feelings may arise spontaneously, They can range from mild pleasure and joy to overwhelming ecstasy; the experience can be so beautiful that you shed tears. You may blush, find your hair standing on end or feel goose pimples. What is more, the ability to concentrate enters a new dimension of lucidity and calm.
Kamalashila, 1992, p85
Mindful Therapies runs regular workshops on a range of mindfulness related themes. Some are perfect for beginners while others are more suited to those looking to deepen their practice. For more information visit https://www.mindfultherapies.org.uk/our-events/