If a meditation practice is working for someone, then certain results ensue and are the illustration that that practice is well-suited. Spoiler alert: none of them include a “good meditation,” “peak experience,” or “bliss.”
Why would the three just mentioned not be included in Patanjali’s list, Buddha Shakyamuni’s list or those of the various lineages within worldwide Dharma practitioners, nor in the list of Taoist masters?
- a) because what constitutes “good” is subjective, vague, and usually predicated upon pleasure rather than clarity and stability (which are the criteria for meditation);
- b) because whatever a “peak experience” is, it can never be repeated; nor will it repeat unto itself. One of the criteria of learning to meditate is consistency in one’s practice. That will, over time and repetition, massage even brushing one’s teeth into a “peak experience” of This Moment Awareness and Compassion.
- c) Experiences of bliss, or union, merging, melting, euphoria, or erotic sensations in any meditation or a particular type of practice such as central channel work (which can produce all of the above) can be had outside of the meditation session as well. For the meditation masters down the ages, these qualities are not included as that which demonstrates a meditation practice suiting a practitioner for all the above reasons. Plus, emphasis on these “feel good” experiences misdirect where the emphasis should be: Awareness in its seat.
The results of a well-suited meditation practice include:
- an incremental, and often unnoticed, increase in self-observation such that patterns of thought, belief, emotion, as well as default clingings, craving and avoidances become recognized. Recognition brings transformation, or letting go, or humor to the newly recognized. Beneficial change ensues.
- an incremental, and often unnoticed, increase in patience, empathy, and caring for others. This can demonstrate as courtesy, respect or listening, as tolerance or ease, as thoughtful decision making conscious of causes and conditions/interdependence, or loving-kindness in its variety of displays.
- occasional quiet within the mind; and a growing preference for less, for simplicity.
- more clarity in one’s thought processes which tends to include wider frames of reference. An inclusive mind.
Good things take time. Each of the above listed results benefit the practitioner in more ways than he or she can be aware of while also benefiting everyone and everything that person interacts with.
Will “peak experiences” happen during meditation? Yes. For sure. And, they will increasingly occur off the cushion during common experiences.
Will “good meditations” happen? Yes. How can they not when the emotion-mind complex and the sense of self are being massaged and purified from within?
Will “bliss”or wonder or union/merging happen? No doubt. Soften and open.