Have you been meditating for a while? Have you settled into a routine and meditate a certain amount of time daily? If this is the case, you may also find that your practice has become a little stale. The meditative practices you apply are always the same and you are not really excited about them anymore.
In this article, I want to explore how you can bring joy back into your practice and give it a positive quality. This way your practice can become something you look forward to every day.
In concentration practices, we usually focus on a particular object and try to be one with the consciousness in which everything arises. This is a very technical process and can lack emotional qualities. But positive emotions are important for our motivation around an activity.
I therefore want you to bring an emotional quality into your practice. Whenever you focus on a particular object, do so in an open and relaxed way. And then you bring a feeling of positive, joyful expectation into the space of awareness. You can consciously hold this joyful feeling in your awareness. It is not distracting at all because you consciously decide to bring it in.
Merge this feeling of joyfulness with your base object. Do this for however long you like and play with the positive energy that you bring to the practice.
After some time you will notice that the positive energy spreads throughout your physical body. This might manifest as an enjoyable tingling sensation somewhere in your body. This is called sidi. Just notice this, but remain with your focus on the original object. Observe how the tingling sensation behaves and moves through your body.
At one point you may notice that this sensation has become very stable. Now you can shift your focus directly on that sensation and merge completely with it. This can increase your positive feelings tremendously and create a blissful altered state. You have entered a state called Dhyana. All your concentration and awareness has gathered around this enjoyable bodily sensation.
This has the benefit of creating a naturally attractive state of intense concentration. It is possible to reach this state of transcendence through the complete absorption into this positive emotional energy. This way it is sometimes easier to attain the insight of oneness, than simply by concentrating on emptiness alone.
You do not always have to meditate in zen-like calmness with the concentration on empty awareness. To gain new motivation for your meditate practice it is totally legitimate and practical to use this practice. At least for a while until you have the feeling that you gained sufficient insight from it.
Switching back to your regular practice, maybe a few weeks or month later, will give you a new perspective on it as well. You can now better distinguish the qualities of emptiness from the emotional background that you bring to the practice. Whether you consciously decide to influence your emotional state or just observe it.
But the benefit of practice is clear. You can find great satisfaction in your meditation and therefore increase long-term adherence. When you lack motivation, this is the right step to do, instead of just giving up. Bringing creativity, openness and variety to the practice can lead not only to interesting insights but might actually be your preferred way to practice. This way you guarantee long-term success.
This should serve as a short reminder that there is also a benefit to feeling positive emotions towards yourself in your meditation practice. You can use joy itself as the object of meditation and merge your consciousness with it. Next time you feel that your meditation practice is a little dull, try out the above and maybe you gain a new perspective on your practice.