We allow the variety of meditative experiences to develop and afterward reflect upon them, to gain awareness about our sitting. We allow our life into our meditation.
Over time we learn more about the inner conditions and habitual patterns of thought and feeling that shape our lives. We can grow to understand which conditions shape difficult inner states and those that shape beneficial ones. Seeing different states arising out of various internal and external conditions can change how we view our experience and what we think of as our self.
Awareness develops naturally during meditation, and more intentionally after the meditation, when you take some time to reflect upon your meditative experiences, describing them as best you can. Writing about your meditation experience, or journaling, can be useful as an aid to memory and as a record when you are talking to a teacher about your meditation. Recollection continues as you reflect upon these experiences at other times in your day. In this way you begin to understand more about how your inner world is constructed. Much as our lives come into our meditation, our meditation comes into our lives.
Consider three qualities when meditating; those of permission, gentleness and curiosity.
Permission is broad and can include permission to follow whatever arises in your experience, or continuing a practice that you are familiar with, or permission to experiment with a practice that you may be interested in, or perhaps to move if you are uncomfortable.
We can learn to be gentle with our experience in meditation. Meditation instructions, or ideas we have heard about meditation, may lead to pressure to get somewhere, or to be someone. From gently becoming familiar with what goes on in one’s meditation, we learn how to meditate and pave the way for other positive qualities such as calm and acceptance.
Curiosity is a natural doorway into knowing more about our inner world and the conditions that shape it. It is our interest in our experience that enables us to become insightful, understanding and wise. This kind of interest invigorates and engages us in our meditative process.