Meditation is often described as a journey, and like any other journey it can be helpful to have a roadmap to help you get your bearings, have a sense of the landmarks you will encounter on your way, and know your destination.
Whilst mediation can be and fulfill all sorts of different things for all sorts of different people, below are the four traditional stages of meditation.
The 4 Stages:
Starting from the unconscious monkey mind and graduating with developing and directing our awareness where we want, when we want, the practice of mediation starts with setting foundations before gradually building our consciousness and awareness over time.
The four stages are:
Cultivating positive states of mind
Read on to learn more about each stage in turn...
STAGE 1: CONCENTRATION
Many spiritual threads teach concentration as the primary meditation practice, with the objective of reaching 'samadhi' - the dissolution of self and union with universal oneness.
STAGE 2: RECEPTIVE AWARENESS
Once we can concentrate our awareness (considered yang i.e. focused, powerful, penetrating) then we can learn to expand our awareness and develop it into what's referred to as receptive awareness ( considered yin i.e. open, expansive, welcoming).
This stage is defined by embracing and assimilating what presents itself, being open, receptive and letting the truth emerge without judgment or preconception.
Most meditations involved an interplay of these first two stages.
STAGE 3: CONTEMPLATION
At this stage meditation becomes an opportunity for developing greater insight, and transforms from calming to a vehicle for freedom (as we begin to understand how our mind works and the nature of reality) and creative expression (as we become liberated from our usual, limited and repetitive patterns of thinking) as we investigate, inquire, and see deeply into the nature of things.
STAGE 4: CULTIVATING POSITIVE STATES OF MIND
We experience profound inner healing as we transform our inner life by directing our concentration to developing and strengthening positive and healthy mind states e.g compassion, loving-kindness, equanimity, joy, forgiveness.
From a coaching perspective, I find the process of mediation greatly enhance the process of coaching, and vice versa. Like meditation, one of the principle aims of coaching is to empower clients by developing, first, self-awareness. Coaching offers some great tools for introspection to assist with this personal exploration. Second, coaching helps us develop greater overall awareness of how we exist in relation to the world and other people, supporting us with developing more openness, by overcoming our preconceptions, judgments, and limiting beliefs, so we become more perceptive and receptive. Third, through these new insights, we experience a greater sense of freedom and creativity and we begin to see new opportunities and ways forward for our life, letting go of our old and tired scripts and replacing them with new empowering ones. Finally, our whole mindset and outlook on life has shifted, as we feel more confident, empowered, and have a sense of purpose and direction that brings meaning to our life and actions, and we feel joy and gratitude and understand the value of the full spectrum of human experience and can embrace it with more and growing resilience/
Coaching is a powerful and practical tool for creating change in your life. I’d love to explore your world with you and help you transform areas of your life you’d like to change or see improved.
Are you ready to make a change? Let's have a conversation.