If you had ever tried meditation, you know that it is much harder than it appears to be. It can be very difficult to focus your attention on any chosen object, especially if you have a lot of stress and other things on your mind. However, there are certain signs that may tell you that you have actually begun to conquer the practice of meditation.
Some signs that you have conquered meditation include less use of support strategies to get started, no longer being judgmental of your own meditation, getting into a meditative state (and staying there) more easily, and experiencing physical and mental health benefits.
If you are curious about just how far you have progressed in the practice of meditation, read on. You might find that you are doing better than you think, or you might have more work to do then you would have anticipated. Either way, it’s good to know where you stand so that you can make as much progress as possible.
You’re Letting Go of Support Tools
When you first start meditating, there are certain support strategies that you might need. For example, you might need to listen to relaxing music while sitting down and push yourself to feel calmer. However, as you incorporate meditation into your routine, you will find that you start to minimize or completely let go of these strategies.
When you see that you can get into a meditative state without the support tools you once needed, this shows you that what you are doing is working. It’s a lot like finally being able to ride a bike without training wheels.
Your Distracting Thoughts Are About the Present
Of course, while you are meditating, the goal is to have no distracting thoughts at all. However, for most people, this is unrealistic. One sign of significant progress can be seen in the actual content of the thoughts. This might be something that you can take note of after you have completed a session of meditation.
People who have been regularly meditating for quite a bit of time will say that they don’t have as many negative thoughts, anger, regret, and anxiety, as before their meditation practice.
When they do have distracting thoughts, they tend to center around recent or present events, rather than ruminating on the past or future. This is because the practice of meditation helps you work through barriers that you have created in your own mind.
You’re No Longer Comparing Meditation Sessions
When you first start meditating, you are likely naturally going to evaluate how well each session went. You might be likely to compare one session to another as well, such as saying that you did well yesterday and not that well today.
If you focus too much on these trends, sometimes you might even convince yourself that meditation is a waste of time for you and is not working. It can be particularly problematic if you let your mind go to this place while you are actually meditating, as this is a distracting negative thought.
Obviously, this is not constructive, especially if you are looking to improve. Each time you sit down to meditate, it contributes to positive long-term effects within you. Even if you stop meditating for a long time, if you start again, you will retain all of your progress from when you were meditating before.
Knowing this, it makes sense not to compare each session and just do the best you can every time you meditate. When you noticed that you have naturally stopped making these comparisons, this is another sign that you are mastering the practice.
You’ve Started Meditating at Random Times
When you first start meditating, it can be a challenge to even get into the right state of mind. However, once you have been meditating for a while, you will find it easier to enter that meditative state.
In fact, you might find yourself entering the state at random times during the day. You might not even intend to do it when it happens. You will just start with the normal meditative breathing patterns and focusing on a chosen object, just as you do when you meditate.
This signifies that meditation has started to feel good for you, rather than being a challenge. Your mind and body will naturally want to move into positions where it feels comfortable and good. If you are naturally going into a meditative state at unexpected times, this shows that you have trained your mind very well to focus on the activity and find peace in it.
You Sometimes Forget That You’re Meditating
When you’re meditating, it can be challenging not to think about the fact that you “meditate.” However, it probably makes sense to you that if you were thinking about it, it means that you weren’t very deep into your meditation.
When you are in deep meditation, you will have some loss of awareness, including losing awareness of the exact activity you are doing. Experiencing this and saying later that you forgot that you were meditating for a while is a very good sign that you were successful in your meditation.
Of course, it is not that easy to stop yourself from thinking about how you are meditating. If you have ever suffered from insomnia, you know that thinking about how hard it is to sleep is one of the most surefire ways to stay awake. During meditation, the goal is to take your mind off of surface awareness of what you are doing.
Using an object of focus, such as your breathing, can be very helpful in this regard.
You Find Yourself Getting Lost in Thought
One of the primary goals of meditation is to go deep into your mind. This means going from surface awareness to a degree of subtle awareness to a lack of awareness. Your mind will be going on a journey as it travels from more to less awareness, and you will be thinking of a variety of thoughts. Many of them won’t have anything to do with meditation.
It’s important that you don’t force your mind in any direction or resist these thoughts. Doing these things might actually bring you to a state of more awareness, which is not what you want. As counterintuitive as it might seem, you should actually embrace the thoughts.
When you master the ability to do this, you will be able to observe later that you truly lost all awareness while you were meditating. When you can do this, you have proven that you can enter the deepest states of meditation.
You’re No Longer Making Excuses Not to Meditate
It’s very common for people to shy away from meditating at the beginning because of negative self-talk.
It’s possible that they may think that it’s simply not for them because it’s too challenging, or they are just not achieving the desired result even when they try. Perhaps you think that there are more important things you can be doing with your time since this isn’t effective anyway.
However, when you meditate consistently, you will become much better at the practice. Once you notice how much you are improving, you are likely to want to keep engaging in this activity and are less likely to make excuses to get out of it.
In fact, you might find that you are making meditation a priority as you go further into the practice. At first, it will be challenging to make time for this activity, especially if it is not one that you particularly look forward to. However, as you actually notice the good that it is bringing to your life, you are more likely to make an effort to find some time for it every day.
You may even notice that your internal body clock is giving you certain signs that it is time to meditate at certain times every day. At some point, it will just become a regular part of your routine, just like eating dinner. You will see that the benefits make the initial sacrifices well worth it.
You’ve Stopped Being Judgmental of Yourself
It’s very important to keep in mind that you should not be judgmental of yourself for allowing distracting thoughts to come into your mind when you meditate. It can be very challenging to free yourself entirely from these thoughts, especially when you are just starting out.
As you incorporate meditation into your routine, you will see that it becomes easier and easier for you to allow thoughts to go in and out of your head, rather than holding on to them and letting them become obstacles.
When people first start meditating, they may feel impatient throughout the entire session. They might want to finish it sooner because they think that it is too difficult and not working.
However, as long as you make an effort to be gentle with yourself and not feel inadequate because you have distracting thoughts, you will get to the point where the thoughts are not as persistent during the practice. When you have been meditating for a while, even when you find that you are having distracting thoughts, you are less likely to allow them to get to you.
You’re More Focused During Meditation
No matter what object you focus on while you are meditating, it will become easier to concentrate on it as you meditate more and more. This is why it can be very important to meditate regularly.
Whether the object of your focus during meditation practice is your breathing, a mantra, or the sound in your surrounding, you will need to be able to hold your concentration on this tool before you can get into a routine of staying with it. Most people are not able to reach this stage without meditating on a regular basis.
You Experience Lapses in Time
When you are closer to conquering meditation, you will find that you meditated longer than you would have estimated. For example, you might have meditated for 15 minutes, and it only felt like five.
This is a sign that you have reached the desired state of little to no awareness since you do not have any memory of those minutes that you cannot account for. If this starts to happen consistently while you meditate, this is a sign that you are conquering the practice.
Your Entire Body Is Relaxed When You’re Done
When you go into deep meditation, sometimes you will end it in a different position than the one in which you started.
For example, you might start out sitting upright and come out of the meditation with your back rounded. If this happened without your conscious awareness, this could be a sign that you were extremely relaxed and unaware, both of which are perfect signs when it comes to meditation.
In some cases, people who enter this type of deep meditation might appear to be sleeping to outside observers. However, they are often not actually sleeping, as they will feel like they are sitting upright as they are meditating.
You Sometimes Have Shallow Breathing
Sometimes, you might find yourself having to take a deep gulp of air while you are meditating. If you have reached the levels of deep meditation, this is actually a common side effect.
This happens because of the deep level of rest you have achieved while you were meditating. Your body’s breathing rate is connected to how much rest you are getting during any particular experience.
You probably already know that when you go out for a run, your breathing is going to be fairly quick. When you are sitting down and doing something relaxing, you will be breathing much more slowly.
While you are meditating, your breathing rate can actually reach a point where you are barely breathing at all, since you are in a restful state that can be even deeper than sleep. The result will be very shallow breathing during this time.
While you are experiencing this very deep rest, you might actually stop breathing completely. When this happens, your body will gulp for air to even things out. Once your body has done this, it will return to a normal breathing pattern.
You Experience a Variety of Health Benefits
When you meditate regularly, you are likely to notice a variety of physical and mental benefits. You will experience these benefits while you are meditating and during the rest of your days. You are definitely to feel these improvements if you are conquering the practice of meditation. The following are some of these benefits:
- Better sleep. If you had insomnia, it’s possible that you may no longer struggle with it, and you’ll feel more energized during the day.
- More resilience. You find yourself being better able to adapt to change, being less needy in your relationships with others, and worrying less about things that are out of your control.
- A more positive outlook. You are able to look on the bright side when you are in a bad situation.
- Less egotism. You might see that you are significantly less egotistical and more compassionate towards yourself and others. You notice that you no longer take things as personally and are generally more interested in other people’s lives.
- More courage. You might find that you are more fearless in your regular life and don’t allow mistakes to stop you from doing what you want to do. You are also more decisive and confident in your decisions, as well as present in the moment.
- Better self-care. You will notice that you are taking better care of yourself, prioritizing your self-care routine, and finding it more comfortable to spend time by yourself. You also might not require as much validation from others as you once did.
- Better overall health. You might observe that you are getting sick less now that you have reached a more profound meditation practice. Many people report more regular bowel movements, more energy, and more youthful feelings.
As you can see, there are many excellent ways to tell that all of the efforts you put into meditation is paying off. It can be extremely rewarding when you see that these things are happening since it shows that you might be more successful than you previously thought. If you don’t notice any of these signs yet, you should not worry. You should simply keep staying with your regular meditation practice.
Meditation can be a considerable challenge. However, it’s important to be kind and gentle towards yourself, practice at your own pace, and have faith that you will master meditation eventually.