Just wanted to pop in and share this beautiful thought on meditation practice from this interview with spiritual teacher Sally Kempton:
For many of my students, the key is to realize that when you sit for meditation, you are entering into a relationship with yourself. As in any relationship, it will sometimes feel easy and flowing, and sometimes feel challenging. If your commitment is to exploring the self, then whatever you experience in meditation is interesting, juicy. And the more you are interested in the process, the more meditation reveals itself.
Another secret is simply to give yourself time. At its core, meditation is a bandwidth in consciousness. It’s a state of presence that is always present behind and within the thoughts and emotions that normally clog the mind. If you sit for long enough, that bandwidth will naturally arise, and you’ll shift out of identifying with thoughts to being fully present in the meditative channel. Depending on how active your mind is, you might need to sit for between half an hour and one hour to fully enter into the natural state of meditation.
Finally, you need to be willing to experiment. Some of us do best with a simple breath and mindfulness practice. Others go deeper when they practice with a mantra. Some people respond to guidance, especially visual guidance. So it’s important to play with different practices, and find an approach that feels juicy to you. That helps you feel peaceful. That you enjoy. The more you enjoy it, the more likely it is that you’ll do it.
And, it’s important to read about meditation. Many great meditators have shared their personal experience. When you’ve read the teachings from the different traditions, you start to see what they have in common, and where the experience of meditators of the past can inform your own. And, if you read widely and intelligently, you begin to realize that meditation is never one size fits all, and it encourages you to experiment, which I believe is crucial.