Are You Using Meditation to Escape From Life?
By Craig Hamilton
In my decades as a spiritual teacher and practitioner I've seen the power meditation has to change people's lives—and to expand our abilities to change the world around us.
However, if you're like a lot of people I've worked with along the path, a satisfying and sustained meditation practice may have eluded you despite your most sincere efforts.
I'd like to share with you two common "meditation mistakes" that are preventing many practitioners from discovering the deeper potentials this practice has to offer.
If you catch yourself in one of these habits, know that much more is possible—and that there's support available to lead you to break through the "ceiling" you may be hitting.
Meditation is Not an Escape From Life
Some people unwittingly use meditation as a refuge or "spiritual bypass." They escape into meditation to avoid facing or dealing with uncomfortable feelings or challenges.
This is a tricky misstep to detect sometimes, since "peace" or disengagement may appear preferable to (or even "more enlightened" than) the complexity or messiness of dealing with life's challenges.
People who seem detached may be seen as having achieved an enviable distance from life, when sometimes they're really just "checked out." If you do this, you may not be attending to things that true meditation would give you the strength to dive into fully and directly.
This approach won't produce the kind of results most people really want. It's not even really meditation.
Real meditation, while it may at times involve the practice of detachment during the practice , won't leave you "above it all" in real life—but instead able to be responsive and clear right here in the trenches of life. It will cultivate steadiness and presence in the face of any circumstance, without being disengaged in an unproductive way.
It's rare to be fully awake, showing up 100% for everything you might confront, but meditation develops that capacity. True meditation is about being fully present with everything that is—including discomfort and challenges.
Meditation empowers you to face truth and reality without hiding.
Practiced properly, meditation will leave you able to relinquish unhealthy attachment and grasping, yet not lose the engagement that makes you productive, creative and generative.
How to Avoid Falling Into a Meditation Rut
Even regular, experienced meditators make mistakes that can dull the radiant potential of the practice. Rote repetition of a single approach can drive you deep into a "meditation rut," where the practice has lost any vitality and dynamism it once had.
If you've been meditating for years but aren't even sure why you're doing it any more, can't name a benefit you're experiencing, dread the practice, or simply treat it like a habit, this is probably your issue.
Meditation for your mind and spirit is in some ways like exercise for the body. If you perform the same exercise repeatedly at the same level, it will cease to challenge you or produce results.
Doing the identical meditation every day for 20 years can be like taking the same daily walk at the same pace. It can be highly unsatisfying and also rob you of the benefits you could gain from stretching yourself.
My new Journey Into Freedom meditation program teaches a variety of approaches that require you to use your awareness in different ways—in effect, a "cross-training" for the mind and spirit. This eliminates the potential for getting "stuck in a rut"—and turns your meditation practice into an ongoing journey of deepening awareness and curiosity. There is literally no end to where you can go with this kind of meditation.
That's why I'm so excited to share it with anyone who has an intention to start or improve a meditation practice—or whose intentions in life could benefit from all the expanded capacities meditation can facilitate.
It's also why I wanted to share these observations about classic "meditation traps"—and let you know that I've put together a system that does an end-run around all the misguided context that detours so many people into the woods where meditation is concerned.
Journey Into Freedom is based on a form of meditation I've personally witnessed having the most impact on the most people. I've customized and refined this type of meditation into an instructive journey that brings about consistent, tangible results.
I'm so happy to offer a system I know can end the false starts to a vibrant meditation practice—and provide a dynamic new beginning to an evolving lifetime of meditation that really works.
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