The Myth of the Serious Meditator

I was talking to a new meditator about her understanding of what it means to commit to he practice and discovered that she believed all serious meditators meditated two hours a day. In addition, to be a good meditator, she felt obligated to sit two hours a day. She was concerned and overwhelmed by the thought of these two hours and this discouraged her from her practice.

As someone who has struggled through the ups and downs of starting a daily practice, I want everyone to know this isn’t true. Instead, sitting two hours a day is a stage in your development. For example, if you keep practicing you’ll eventually memorize the multiplication tables. Different people will reach that stage at different times, but the key is to keep practicing.

I believe that committing to your meditation practice mean trying to sit every day for some amount of time. Practicing 5 minutes every morning could have a tremendous impact on your life, and to me, someone who commits to this is a serious meditator. The important thing is to stick to your commitment.

Oh, and as far as lotus position and sitting motionless, don’t spend too much time fretting over it. I still often find myself shifting positions and sitting with my knees tucked under my chin. It might not look pretty, but I’m still meditating and still enjoying the benefits of a daily practice. The bottom line is, be where you are. Accept where you are along the path and work hard to walk in the right direction. Good luck! Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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7 Responses to The Myth of the Serious Meditator

  1. There were the days when I was very regular, 20 years back during my engineering college, I used to compulsory seat for long, without able to understand what is going inside. Just trying to feel the sensation. Today I am not very regular, but I am able to feel the sensation whatever work I do.
    Last few months or years I had been upset within, but without throwing my misery/restlessness on other I am able to watch my sensation, though I am not able to smile on face with that misery/restlessness within. At times it though comes out.

    In 2006 I was in Seoul for 6 months I used to go to a house where group sitting used to happen, I was the only one who used to change legs and do movement during sitting. I went for a day to the place where 10 day course was going on; students did not need bell to ring and they were sitting in one posture right from day one.

  2. Toni says:

    Dear Ryan,
    very well spoken.For my part I had from the beginning on never difficulties to meditate 2 to 4 hours daily.
    But I know really a lot of Vipassana Meditators,and I know I am a little bit outstanding.
    But like you say,only the daily practice,let it start with only 5 minutes twice a day will bring you a change in your live.
    Continuous pratice make the difference.
    Metta,Toni

  3. John Eden says:

    Very true! I was having difficulties with the Vipassana part at one point, and a teacher said to me, “You can always do anapanna!” I have in recent times found that to be such helpful advice, because I find myself doing anapanna in many situations, many positions, many times a day, and it never fails to help. The ‘one hour twice a day’ guideline is wonderful, and is very powerful, but to do nothing because one is unable to live up to that standard is self-defeating!

  4. Pingback: Meditation for dummies…or 3 things I didn’t know about meditation | mummy flying solo

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