Like many people, I have been practicing meditation for a while. Actually, I have been practicing for over 40 years. I hope the key word you are seeing is ‘practice.’
I have met lots of meditators — hundreds, maybe thousands over the last 4 decades — and all of them tell me they ‘practice meditation’ regularly. However, we rarely define what ‘practice’ means.
For this discussion, we will consider that ‘practice’ is the repetition of that which is already correct.
Until it is functioning as intended, it is not ‘practice.’
To stay true to this definition of practice, I find that most people are not really practicing, but rather they are still learning, experimenting and exploring their spiritual practices. The Yoga Sutras remind us that every spiritual practice should be stable, steady, comfortable, consistent, and perfect. A dear friend of mine says “practice makes predictable.”
The sages, modern teachers and neuroscientists all make great claims about the benefits of meditation. I do not disagree, but I wonder how many people are experiencing real tangible benefits from their daily meditations.
I see those benefits as honest and experiential observations of how our mind engages with the world. For example, once you are aware of its binding and releasing properties, then you realize how fickle is the mind. Using our five senses (touch, taste, sight, etc.), the mind constantly roams around our personal world randomly distracting us from our duties and directions. This knowledge empowers us to break our habitual tendencies to fear and argue with our mind, instead we learn to respect and trust our own discerning power about what is true about our life. We no longer feel the need to prove our worth and we start to live our life free from fears and doubts.
Let us all strive towards learning to practice meditation with precision.