Well, you’ll have to look within yourself.
You are the only one who will be able to tell if you’re making progress with your meditation journey – no one else. Even then, it can be tricky to figure out if you’re leveling up with your practice.
To get some clarity, we spoke to two meditation experts to learn what some meditation milestones are.
Many of us have expectations surrounding how we “should” be meditating, what our progress looks like, and how fast we make progress. However, spiritual guide and meditation teacher Ali Duncan urges you to go easy on yourself. She says, “Letting go of what you think meditation has to look like, and just letting it be however it shows up, will deepen your meditation practice and is the key to staying open to what meditation has to offer.” You’ll know you’re making progress in your journey if you find yourself no longer being hung up on expectations.
Ask anyone who meditates – it’s not always easy to sit still, especially when first starting out. We are always on the go, moving, fidgeting, you name it. When you’re able to really sit still while meditating, acknowledge it! “For many of us, just being able to sit still for 5 minutes is a tall task, let alone building up to longer and deeper meditations,” says Connie L. Habash, meditation teacher and author of Awakening from Anxiety: A Spiritual Guide to Living a More Calm, Confident, and Courageous Life. “Celebrate when you can settle into being completely motionless for 5 minutes. When you can sustain it for 15 or 20, you are at the threshold of a significant shift in the quality of your meditation.”
Meditation is a great way to quiet the mind, but first, you have to be able to get to the point of actually being capable of quieting your mind and maintaining that quietness. Habash says, “For most of us, this sounds a lot easier than it is. With practice, however, by paying attention to the space between thoughts, we can increase the time we sit in internal silence. If you are having periods in your meditation without thought—even for just a few seconds—you are making progress.”
One of the greatest things about meditation is that its benefits extend far beyond the time that you are spending meditating. Meditating regularly will boost your health in the long run and help you cope with discomfort, both physical and mental. If you’re noticing benefits outside of your practice, this is a big milestone! “Finding just a little peace in your reoccurring and most uncomfortable life experiences means your meditation practice is working,” says Duncan.
Haven’t experienced these milestones yet? No worries. Everyone’s practice is different and will move at different speeds. Just think of these as milestones to look forward to when the time comes, whenever that may be.
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