Learning to meditate? Do you have what it takes?
Anything you desire to master – whether it be learning to cook, learning to drive a car, or learning to snow ski involves applying steps. It also involves developing the ongoing discipline needed to continue with practising until you start to get it and the skills you’re learning start to become natural to you.
Like these prior examples learning to meditate is no different. Meditation is a learned skill that can be taught. It takes time and discipline to master deeper meditation, yes, but benefits can be experienced immediately even by novices.
Once you have step by step instructions on how to meditate there are behaviour traits that will support you as you learn to meditate. Many of us already possess these beneficial traits and if you don’t they can be developed as you continue learning to meditate.
These behaviour traits involve the following:
Step 1: Learn to Meditate by Following a Set Procedure with Discipline
In learning to meditate, as with learning any skill, you need to develop the discipline to follow a set procedure that has already been proven to work. This means that the path has been laid out by others before you and if you get stuck or lost you clearly know what to do because the steps forward are provided. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know what to do because you learn from those who do know. You take comfort and trust the process because you know you are being guided. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and can experience meditation initially through learning from others and by following tried and tested methods.
You start at the beginning and then proceed step by step. Many small steps lead you progressively to your destination. In taking the steps one by one, you find that the destination actually becomes the experience in the moment, not the end result. You find the how soon becomes more important than what you were trying to achieve.
Once you start living this way you are meditating. Until that moment you are doing what I call efforting. You need to apply effort in the beginning, but at some point in the process of learning to meditate efforting stops and be-ing returns. Then the process becomes embodied and natural.
Many small steps lead you progressively toy our destination. In taking the steps one by one, you find that the destination actually becomes the experience in the moment, not the end result. Then the process becomes more important than what you were trying to achieve. Once you start living this way you are meditating.
Step 2: Learn to Meditate Through Consistent Application
Being able to meditate also comes through repetitio – through applying consistent and dedicated practice to the art form of meditation, an art form that is worth learning and is not easy to do at the start. A novice meditator is challenged with all kinds of distractions…constant thoughts and memories flashing by, knocks at the door and everyone in the household suddenly needing them! All of these distractions are ways in which your ability to stay focused is tested and that is how you learn to meditate. It doesn’t always come easily, but it does come when you persist with integrating a meditation practice into your life on a consistent basis.
Finding a nice quiet and peaceful place to meditate is lovely, and this is the best way to start learning the process, but in the long run, you become successful at meditating when you can remain ‘in state’ no matter what is happing around you. No matter what your mind want to try and distract you with, no matter what the kids are doing in the next room, nor the last thing that happened in your day before you retired to our quiet and special spot to meditate. In other words, no matter what happens in your internal or external environment you need to learn to notice it but tune out to it so that it does not effect your meditation practice. This develops naturally as your meditation practice deepens.
Step 3: Learn to Meditate by Developing Desire and Commitment
To meditate also takes desire and commitment. Only with a strong desire to learn to meditate and commitment to the practice can you build the discipline and self-control necessary to meditate successfully, no matter how active your mind is or what else is happing in your internal or external environment. Meditation is worth learning and persisting with, as it brings many benefits and can help you in every area of your life. When you start at the beginning and continue one step at a time you can succeed. This assists you in developing the qualities you need to master meditation and to master any life skill.
The necessary behaviour traits that can be learned through cultivating a devoted and dedicated meditation practice therefore are;
- consistent application,
- desire and
When you apply these behaviour traits and take once step at a time, you learn to meditate successfully and in the process, are also able to cultivate a richer and more fulfilling life experience.
Enjoy learning to meditate! 🙂