As a meditation teacher, my students often ask me how to progress in meditation.
Before their first lesson, most of my students have only done mindfulness, and they want to know how to go further.
Beyond mindfulness lies an entire world of meditation. And if the only meditation you have ever done is mindfulness, you’re sorely missing out.
Mindfulness is just the beginning. Indeed, mindfulness is like groundwork. When you practice mindfulness, you learn to focus your mind and to generally be aware. This gives you control of your conscious mind. But what do you do once you have control of your mind?
Actually, what happens after mindfulness is up to you. How you progress in meditation will largely depend on your personal goals.
Think about it like this. Your mind is like a piece of paper. And you are an artist. Normally, your mind (your page) is already full. You have your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. And those things occupy your mind. Mindfulness clears the page. So, you now have an empty page on which you can create your work of art.
That said, I do have some ideas to help you progress in meditation. So, let me share them with you.
How To Progress in Meditation
Now that you have started meditation, you have more control of your mind. And you can choose to change your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions. However, how you do this is entirely up to you. Here are some ideas.
1: Book an actual meditation lesson
You know how to do mindfulness. But you probably don’t know all the other meditation techniques or how they can help you. It’s time now to step it up. It’s time for you to learn the true power of meditation. And the best way to do that is to book an online meditation lesson.
While you’re at it, ditch the apps. Apps like Headspace and Calm are great for absolute beginners. But you’re beyond that now. So it’s time to get real. Delete the apps and start to do a proper meditation practice instead. I can help you with this, so book a lesson today.
2: Learn all the other meditation techniques
Mindfulness is just one type of meditation. There are many other techniques. For instance, there are chakra meditations, yogic methods like Dharana and Dhyana, Buddhist methods like Vipassana and Samatha, and modern methods like Body Scan.
The best thing you can do now is to learn about the different meditation techniques and how they can help you. If you read that previous link, you will learn all about the various forms of meditation and their benefits. This will help you to pick your next meditation.
3: Improve your meditation practice and go further
Most beginner meditators can relax at home for twenty minutes while they sit with their eyes closed. However, they lose their Zen when they go about their day. You want to be calm always. And to do that you will need to improve your meditation practice. These enhancements will help.
Ways to improve your meditation practice:
- Practice the four foundations of mindfulness
- Go for longer
- Meditate in public places
- Meditate at work (during your breaks)
- Do different meditation techniques
- Focus on your weaknesses (for instance, if you get angry or lack self compassion, focus on that)
- Meditate without the aid of an app
- Meditate in noisy places (so you can focus and stay calm in noise)
4: Practice Pratyahara
Pratyahara Yoga is basically sensory withdrawal. It means removing the sources of noise and negativity. For instance, you can reduce social media usage, turn your phone off, reduce your TV time, and stop hanging around with negative people.
Yoga sage Patanjali explained that pratyahara is the perfect partner for meditation. When we meditate e gain focus. However, we will lose that focus if we take in too much noise. That’s why reducing noise can help you to keep your Zen for longer.
5: Develop compassion
If you listen to various meditation teachers (such as myself, Sharon Salzberg, and Thich Nhat Hanh) you will know that compassion is vital. And not just because it’s nice. There are significant health benefits of compassion, and it is arguably the number one trait shared amongst different spiritualities and religions.
Certainly, in Buddhism it is considered essential to develop compassion (which Buddhists call “Karuna”). Indeed, the ultimate goal of Buddhism is to become an arahant (an enlightened person who lives for compassion).
You need compassionate for yourself and for other people. The more compassion you have, the happier and healthier you will be, and the more good you will do in the world. Two of the best ways to develop compassion are with Karuna meditation and Metta (Loving Kindness meditation). These are two great meditations to do after mindfulness.
There are many ways to progress in meditation. Definitely the best way is to work with a professional meditation teacher such as myself. I can help you to find the best meditation techniques for you, and together we can evolve your mind.
You can also progress in meditation by trying different techniques going for longer and reducing your use of aids (like apps and music).
Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison