"How do I know if I'm meditating properly?" "Is my practice working, or am I just wasting my time?". These are questions I get asked quite a bit from newbie meditators or even those who've been meditating on and off for some time. I wondered this myself when I first started out.
Over time I realized it's much easier to first tap into how your practice FEELS in order to gauge success, rather than arbitrarily following any sort of specific meditation rules.
The following 5 signs are the barometer I use to measure if I'm meditating "properly" or if my practice is "working". And since awareness is the first step towards change, knowing which element(s) you're lacking will help you make the necessary tweaks to make your practice feel more successful.
One more thing before we dive in. I realize the term "success" is quite subjective. So I encourage you to take these 5 signs in with an open mind, and then use your own inner wisdom to take what resonates and put the rest aside.
1. It's ENJOYABLE
Meditating shouldn't feel like an annoying chore every time you do it- another tedious thing to check off the to-do list. Sure, there will be obstacles. But if you don't enjoy your practice, it probably won't last very long. And then, what's the point?
So, does your practice feel enjoyable? Or do you dread it most of the time?
2. It's EASY
Meditation shouldn't feel like an uphill battle each and every time you sit. It should feel relatively easy. Again, that doesn't mean there will never be obstacles in your practice. SPOILER ALERT: there will likely be lots of obstacles. But if you start seeing them simply as an opportunity to practice, and you learn how to manage them, obstacles don't have to make your practice feel so. damn. hard!
So, does your practice feel relatively easy? Or does it feel like an uphill battle most of the time?
3. It's EFFECTIVE
The benefits of meditation are broad. As are each of our personal reasons for meditating. When I polled my community on Facebook as to why they meditate, I got answers like, "to feel more peace", "to find love for myself again", "to connect with the divine", "to connect to my inner wisdom", "to evolve into the best version of myself", "to uncover my purpose", "to calm my mind", "to feel more confident", "to attract positivity into my life", "to set an example of self-care for my kids".
So whatever your own personal meditation aspirations may be, is your practice helping you achieve them? If so, awesome! If not, then you likely just need to make some simple tweaks in your practice.
4. It's ENDURING
For a long time my practice looked like this: A stressful event like a breakup would make me feel stressed and overwhelmed > I'd start meditating daily > I'd start feeling better > I'd start skipping sessions and my practice would slowly fade out (maybe for weeks or even months) > I'd slowly start feeling stressed and overwhelmed again (or another traumatic event would happen) > I'd start meditating daily again. And so the cycle would continue.
Eventually I realized that if I just kept my practice up consistently, as part of my daily self-care routine, I was better prepared (mentally and emotionally) to handle the inevitable little stressors or "sh*t hits the fan" moments in life.
So, do you meditate consistently? Or is your practice sporadic or often only triggered when something stressful is happening in your life?
5. It makes you more YOU
I love this quote, and I couldn't agree more. Throughout our lives we pick up beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors that are meant to keep us safe, but can ultimately distance us from our true-selves and cause us stress and unhappiness. Meditation has the capability of shining a light on those false beliefs that are keeping you feeling disconnected from your true-self, and fully fulfilled and happy.
When I first started meditating, I had no idea meditation could be so powerful in transforming my life. So I meditated mostly just to calm my anxiety and feel more peaceful.
If you're meditating to just temporarily reduce stress, you're missing out on the greatest potential of meditation- it's ability to reconnect you to your truth and help you become your best self!
So, how do you measure the success of your practice and know when you need to make tweaks to it? Which of the above signs resonate as something you'd like to cultivate more of in your practice? Or is there something else that's not on the list? Let's get this discussion going below in the comments!
And if you've realized that your practice isn't as successful as you'd like and want to know how you can make your practice feel more enjoyable, easy, effective, enduring, AND make connect you to your true-self, you're in luck! I'm working on a comprehensive guide to help you.