Guide: Middle Stage
A Guide to the Middle Stage of Meditation
You can divide the practice of meditation into three major life stages. If you are a middle-stage meditator, you likely have experienced a number of meditation experiences already. You know what usually works for you, and you practice it with some frequency or regularity. This short guide may introduce you to some of the experiences you might find in the middle stage of a meditation practice.
What is a “middle stage” of meditation? Middle-stage meditation is a second stage, time, or period in life when you are meditating regularly, and usually you are having long-lasting success in creating better states of being, awareness, or mental, emotional, or physical health. This middle stage is beyond your initial explorations and experiences of “Starting Stage of Meditation” (see).
What is it not? Middle-stage meditation is not simply one or a few intense experiences with no regular meditation practice. It especially is not having one or a few intense experiences that seem to change your life, after which you begin espousing a specific philosophy, religion, or spiritual path–to the exclusion of all others–based solely on your one or a few meditation experiences. Espousing theory or preaching lessons is not, in and of itself, the act of practicing meditation. And great meditators throughout history have pointed out that many, even most, meditation experiences link meditators together in common experiences –not exclusive clubs or belief.
Likewise, a middle stage in the life of meditation is not necessarily established mainly by your dreams or visions of some type. All of these–espousing, preaching, dreams, visions–are not, by themselves, the regular practice of meditation (unless they actually happen in meditative states). Rather, too often, they are simply you adopting a set of beliefs, rather than actually having meditation experiences. And as such, they can become distractions from the practice of your meditation. It is in the regular practice of meditation that true experience of meditation develops over a period of time.
What are examples? Hallmarks or signs of a middle stage of meditation practice may include one or more of the following:
It may include meditation practice that is daily for a total of 20-30 minutes or more–added together in any given day, and/or averaged over a period of weeks or months. The meditations can be planned or unplanned, on a consistent schedule, or occurring more in some days but less or not at all in others. However, in middle-stage meditation practice, it is clear that mindfulness has become an important, life-changing, and frequent part of your life.
A second hallmark may be the ability to access significant change in part(s) of your life through meditation. For example, you may be able to comfortably access, through meditation, a significant decrease in emotional or physical discomforts; a significant increase in mental clarity; or perhaps greater love, joy, peace, or inner strength.
You may have a series of more intense inner experiences bringing greater peace or profound rest, joy or love, and consciousness or strength.
Another hallmark is more openings to, or experiences with, inner events that are described in one or more religious or spiritual traditions.
If you are more of a transcendentalist meditation person–one who finds the deeper, higher source of being outside of you, perhaps in nature or art–then you may begin to regularly, or perhaps more regularly, experience descents of these experiences into your own self or own being.
Significant changes in your personality or emotions, making you more aware of life and/or aware of others, is yet another hallmark.
You may be experiencing significant energy-level changes that are positive, or an increase in energy.
Yet another hallmark can be conscious improvements in health, or finding yourself securely on a road to such conscious, aware improvements.
What are specific middle-stage experiences? Specific experiences or focuses can be difficult to define, describe, or enumerate because they often depend on the type(s) of starting-stage or beginning meditations you may have pursued and developed within you. However, here are some patterns or experiences that middle-stage meditators might discover:
Descents and/or ascents of meditation energies (See “Descents and Ascents.”)
Fullnesses or swellings of awareness or energy in, at, or with your primary meditation center points (See “Meditation Centers.”)
The ability to understand and be able to use the two meditation techniques called, in this book, “Awareness of Each Object of Awareness” and “Awareness of Awareness” (See.)
The ability to understand and, if you choose, practice concentration on the top four main meditation centers (See “Meditation Centers.”)
The ability to understand and be able to use practices in public meditation (See “Public Meditation.”)
A ability to understand and be able to explain to others a variety of ways that they might practice some of the meditations you’ve experienced
An ability to identify with or understand a variety of inward experiences when reading or hearing about them, and the ability to project yourself into them–to imagine being able, someday, to experience them–if you have not already done so
What are good middle-stage meditation practices? Good practice often involves following the particular method or path of meditation you have found works best for you. This path might be focus on one specific type, act, or internal center of meditation; it may be devotion to a specific idea, guiding meditation person (alive or from the past), or positive force; or it may be to a set of differing meditation patterns that you make use of according to your needs, difficulties, or even your daily, weekly, or monthly patterns.
Whatever path or methods you choose, you will, as a middle-stage meditator, choose what works for you. And you will use it with some degree of consistency and thoroughness. This does not mean that you will never again change you focus: you may still introduce changes flexibly, according to your needs, interests, and discoveries. However, as a middle-stage meditator, you usually have discovered a particular path–a method or group of methods–that works for you. You like your methods. And you appear to grow best inwardly with regular practice.
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Most recent content revision 3 Aug. 2019
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