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6/23/2014

3 Skills To Take Your Meditation Practice To The Next Level

3 Skills To Take Your Meditation Practice To


The Next Level
BY JULIANNA RAYE
JUNE 14, 2014 4:40 AM EDT

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No matter what meditation practice you do, you want to make sure your practice is
both restorative and strengthening. Its easy to get caught in a comfortable place,
finding your daily half hour of peace but missing the true potential of meditation.

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3 Skills To Take Your Meditation Practice To The Next Level

On the other hand, if its too dull or frustrating, you wont make time for it. Your time is
precious, and to make the most of meditation, it can be helpful to understand what
spiritual muscles youre strengthening as you practice.
Did you know that any good meditation practice develops three basic skills? This often
isnt clearly communicated in the instructions. In fact, many teachers dont even
recognize this fact. But you can. And that will make your time meditating more
productive and effective.
Whether you do Mindfulness, Zen, Tibetan, TM, Vipassana, Creative Visualization,
Loving Kindness or any practice you can think of, the key to doing it successfully is to
make sure the following three skills are being developed as you practice:
1. Concentration power; the ability to focus your attention where you choose.
Each time your attention wanders and you bring it back to whatever youre focusing on
(two common objects of focus are the breath or a mantra) its like a mental rep at the
mind gym. You're strengthening the Concentration Power muscle, which enables you
to have choice about what you focus on and how intently. Being "in the zone" can be
attributed to Concentration Power. So, developing Concentration Power means you get
to spend more of your life "in the zone!"
Concentration Power can also improve your sense of well-being by allowing you to
focus on positive aspects of experience instead of getting hooked on habitual,
unhappy ways of interpreting your experience. And Concentration Power enhances
your productivity and fulfillment by allowing you to be more fully present for the
activities youre engaged in.
2. Sensory Clarity; the ability to track and explore sensory experience in real time.
Lets take a common practice by way of example: Suppose you're focusing on a mantra.
How can you become clear about your moment by moment experience of reciting the
mantra, whether aloud or to yourself? If you are saying the mantra to yourself, where

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3 Skills To Take Your Meditation Practice To The Next Level

do you hear it in your mind.


Does its location move or stay still? Do you notice changes in pitch, volume and rate?
Do you notice the gaps between recitations?
Sensory Clarity is the act of becoming fascinated by or discovering your experience at
any given time and the process of tracking your experience moment by moment. To
sum it up as concisely as possible, Sensory Clarity helps you untangle your experience
so you dont get caught in it. It improves your objectivity, precision and, most
importantly, your insight into the true nature of your experience.
3. Equanimity; the ability to allow sensory experience to come and go, without push
and pull.
We tend to fight with unpleasant thoughts, emotions and body sensations and cling to
pleasant ones. This happens in little ways all the time. Unfortunately, these little
resistances snowball, dulling our overall vitality. When you avoid pain and cling to
pleasure, that has unfortunate consequences in your ability to be present for all of
life.
Of course, I could talk for days about any of these skills. Theres a lot to unpack! But my
hope is that just defining them for you will help you optimize your meditation time,
whatever practice you choose to do. I want to support anyone who is willing to do the
work. Having a clear understanding of the skills you develop as you practice is a great
way to make sure your practice stays on track.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com <http://www.shutterstock.com>

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To learn more about meditation or happiness, check out our video courses The
Essential Guide To Meditation With Charlie Knoles and How To Create More
Happiness & Meaning In Your Life With Charlie Knoles.

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About the Author


Julianna Raye
Julianna Raye is a professional singer/songwriter and
meditation trainer. Her first cd was for Warner Brothers,
produced by the legendary Jeff Lynne (ELO, Travelling
Wilburys, Tom Petty.) Follow up cds were produced by Ethan
Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Lara Marling). Julianna began
meditating 17 years ago, to cope with the challenges of her
profession. 12 years ago, she began training people in
meditation. As a trainer, she was recently featured on ABC
news, Los Angeles. Julianna has just launched How To
Meditate With Music
<http://howtomeditatewithmusic.com/meditating-with<http://www.mindbodygreen.com/wc/juliannamusic> a method of merging her two areas of expertise into
raye>
an approach to mindfulness that addresses two big
challenges for beginning and intermediate meditators:
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