I recently attended a yoga teacher training program for meditation, and it was honestly so transformational that it inspired me to create a 30 Day Meditation Program, which is now available on the YBC® App (I apologize, it’s currently only available for iOS users right now - it will be made available for Google Play in the next version, which we hope to do soon - just need to raise the capital for it).
There are ten stages of meditation, and they are as follows. I’ve found it’s important to keep these in mind as you begin your meditation practice because it helps you to better understand yourself as you move through the stages.
Cultivating a daily practice - The whole reason I created the 30 Day Namaslay® Meditation Program was because I think it’s hard for people to cultivate a daily meditation practice when they just don’t know where to begin, or how to do it. With our program, you literally just follow the calendar and don’t have to worry about what to do or how to do it - it’s all right there for you. Cultivating a daily practice is the first step.
Placing attention on the object of meditation. - The “object” of meditation is really just the point of each style of meditation you practice. So, for example, if you are practicing a body scan mediation, you are essentially keenly aware that you are simply observing yourself as you practice. If you are practicing a Mantra Meditation, your attention stays focused on the mantra.
Placing with continuity amidst distraction. - In this stage of meditation, you are still keenly aware of the point of each style of meditation (aka “the object”), but you are able to do it despite the car alarm that just went off outside, or the ringing of the phone you hear downstairs. That is, you’re able to hold your spot in the meditation practice despite noticing minor distractions around you.
Placing with continuity and patching the gaps. - In this stage of meditation, you are, for the most part, able to partake in a quality meditation practice despite outside distraction but every once in a while, there are gaps within the practice where you lose the focus. You’re able to come back to them, in this stage.
Keeping the object with obvious agitation and dullness. - Dullness is when you see the object of meditation and it’s a bit fuzzy. That is, you know what you’re doing and you know why you’re doing it, but it can become unclear throughout the meditation practice. When dullness comes to you, you may feel frustrated, agitated, and ready to give up, exclaiming, “Meditation is not for me! I just can’t sit still.” It’s at this time that it’s most important to continue to sit in meditation. To correct the dullness, you’ll focus on the end of the exhale, with an unforced, uncontrived pause. In this stage, it might be extremely difficult or inaccessible to you to come back to the purpose aka “the object” of the meditation practice, but try. Keep in mind that the antidote to dullness is clarity - coming back to the point of the practice.
Keeping the object with mindfulness to correct obvious dullness. - This is just like the aforementioned stage of meditation, but slightly less frustrating. That is, you have moments of dullness and agitation, it’s obvious, you know it’s there, but you are less likely to throw your hands up and exclaim, “I can’t!” Come back to the clarity, focus on the exhale, and try to stick with it.
Keeping the object with strong mindfulness to eliminate subtle dullness. - This is much like the aforementioned stage of meditation, but far less frustrating. In fact, you may only notice just the slightest bit of dullness, and by this point, you have the ability to swiftly correct it.
Pacifying the mind totally with strong mindfulness and recollection. - In this stage, when you find your mind beginning to wander, you are able to come back to the why and the point of each meditation style you practice to correct the wandering. You’re able to quickly recall what you should be experiencing, and therefore are better able to get into that state of being.
Making the mind single-pointed without dullness or agitation. - In this stage, you can finally just tell yourself to relax. In the previous stages, telling yourself to “Just relax” isn’t an effective method for finding your way back to the meditation practice because it actually takes your mind and body effort to get there. But in this stage, you have no dullness or agitation and you literally can just relax into it.
Achieving samatha (shum-uh-TA) - automatic, single-pointedness. - In this stage, you have essentially mastered the art of meditation. The practice is automatic and familiar to your mind, body and soul.
Be sure to give the 30 Day Namaslay® Meditation Program on the YBC® App a try and let us know how it goes for you!