Elevate Your Mindfulness: 5 Crucial Steps for the Intermediate Meditator

Introduction

In the journey of mindfulness, the intermediate stage can often feel like a plateau. You’ve mastered the basics, but perhaps you’re yearning to deepen your practice. Maybe you’re looking to elevate your mindfulness, to reach a new level of calm, clarity, and insight. If this sounds like you, you’ve arrived at the right place. This guide will walk you through five crucial steps to elevate your mindfulness. These steps are not merely to be read and forgotten, but to be lived and breathed, becoming the pillars of your daily life.

Step 1: Deepen Your Practice

The first step to elevate your mindfulness is to deepen your practice. This involves more than just increasing the duration of your meditations, although that is part of it. It’s about going beyond surface-level calm and relaxation, diving into the depths of your mind, and discovering what lies beneath.

To deepen your practice, you must first commit to meditate daily. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, this daily commitment will anchor your practice. It’s also about exploring new forms of meditation. Perhaps you’ve always done mindfulness meditation, but what about loving-kindness meditation, body scan meditation, or mantra meditation? Each technique offers unique benefits and can illuminate new aspects of your inner world.

Deepening your practice also involves pushing your mental boundaries. It’s about expanding your comfort zone, challenging your preconceived notions, and breaking through your mental barriers. This could mean sitting with discomfort during meditation, observing it without reacting, or exploring the nature of a recurring thought or emotion.

Step 2: Cultivate Mindfulness in Daily Life

The second step is to cultivate mindfulness in your daily life. Mindfulness is not just for the meditation cushion – it’s a way of life. It means being fully present and engaged in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s washing the dishes, doing your work, or talking to a friend.

To cultivate mindfulness in daily life, start by paying attention to the present moment, without judgment. Notice the sensations in your body, the thoughts in your mind, and the emotions in your heart. Observe them as they arise and pass away, without trying to hold onto them or push them away.

Mindfulness also involves noticing the little things in life that often go unnoticed. The feel of the wind on your skin, the sound of birds chirping, the taste of your food. It’s these small moments that often bring the most joy and peace.

Step 3: Learn to Let Go

The third step to elevate your mindfulness is to learn to let go. This is one of the most challenging, yet also one of the most transformative aspects of mindfulness.

Letting go means releasing attachment to outcomes, to thoughts, and to emotions. It means accepting that things won’t always go your way, and that’s okay. It means allowing thoughts and emotions to arise and pass away, without getting caught up in them.

Letting go is also about non-resistance. It’s about allowing life to flow naturally, without trying to control or manipulate it. It’s about learning to be with what is, without needing to change or fix anything.

Step 4: Connect with Others

The fourth step is to connect with others. The journey of mindfulness is not just an inward journey, but also an outward one. It’s about bringing mindfulness into your relationships and learning to be truly present with others.

To connect with others, start by seeing the humanity in everyone you meet. Recognize that they, like you, have their own hopes, fears, dreams, and struggles. Treat them with kindness, respect, and empathy.

Also, try to bring mindfulness into your conversations. Listen deeply, without planning what to say next. Speak honestly and from the heart. Notice how this changes the quality of your interactions.

Step 5: Maintain a Beginner’s Mind

The final step to elevate your mindfulness is to maintain a beginner’s mind. This is the idea of approaching each meditation session, each moment, as if it’s your first. It’s about letting go of expectations, preconceptions, and judgments.

Maintaining a beginner’s mind means staying open, curious, and willing to learn. It means being humble and acknowledging that no matter how much you know, there’s always more to learn.

Conclusion

The journey of mindfulness is a continuous process of learning and growth. By deepening your practice, cultivating mindfulness in daily life, learning to let go, connecting with others, and maintaining a beginner’s mind, you can elevate your mindfulness to new heights. Remember, each step is not a destination, but part of an ongoing journey. Embrace each moment, stay present, and keep exploring the vast landscape of your inner world.

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Dr. Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling author and film maker. Taoist Abbot and Qigong master. Husband and dad. I’m here to help you find your way and be healthy and happy. I don’t want to be your guru…just someone who’ll help point the way. If you’re looking for a real person who’s done the work, I’m your guy. I can light the path and walk along it with you but can’t walk for you.