What Type of Meditator Are You? Continued...
Well, this is a continuation of What type of meditator are you? and we will be looking at three more possible types. Keep in mind this is a broad-brush look, as people are complicated; we are often a mixture - even sometimes just depending on the day.
Getting to know yourself in life though is invaluable. I would put this as one of the most useful things I've done so far, and mindfulness meditation can be a great tool for this.
I hope this article helps you to investigate and learn a bit more about yourself.
Are you a fiery or placid person?
A fiery person coming to meditation might wish to learn to control their anger but still remain warm and friendly. That's cool. The key here is to be persistent with meditation, but, willing to feel any anger as it arises.
One of the worst things to do is to suppress anger in an attempt to let it go and then kid oneself into believing it is under control by ignoring it. So being willing to feel the heat of anger in the space of meditation is essential.
Letting the aggression surface and be there without taking it out on someone... is the way. If you do let it out on someone else, then being forgiving of yourself (plus maybe asking forgiveness for the poor person you let it out on) and being willing to return to the cushion to meditate is part and pastel of the path.
Work with anger and in time you can develop patience with it and learn better how to manage aggression. For example, taking a walk, to cool off might be one way.
If you are a placid person, then be a bit careful of not withdrawing into yourself too much in meditation. The remedy here is to be open to the present moment; don't try too hard to meditate and go inwards.
Instead, just sit quietly and let the meditation unfold by itself.
Also when in daily life and interacting with others, let your mindfulness be broad and open taking in what others are saying and how they might be feeling.
This will counter becoming too self-absorbed and out of touch with others.
Do you lean towards analytical or emotionally intelligent?
If you are a real studious type or love logical reasoning, then in the field of meditation: be willing to put your books down! The reason for this is you'll probably have a strong attachment to your thought process and the ideas arising from this.
However, meditation is beyond thinking; the thinking mind just can't work it out as logical reasoning actually can prevent calm.
The logical reasoning might point you towards meditation like signs point towards the centre of town but once you are meditating, reasoning isn't the tool for the job.
Once you are in town you don’t need the signposts to be there.
Sitting and being intuitive with the body and allowing the mind to intuitively settle is the order of the day. Put your reasoning mind to one side: sit and listen to your body and trust that awareness will point the right way to go.
If you are more emotionally driven then that's cool but be careful that you don't get too caught in strong emotions in meditation taking them personally and to be yours.
Notice emotions arising and passing, notice their transitory nature, be patient with them, aware of them and willing to let them go.
Emotions help us empathise with others as well. They are useful, but they can also cause us to get into a tangle with others; causing harm to ourselves and others. The key here is to return to being mindful of the body in a balanced way.
Awareness of our body has a grounding quality to it. Awareness of the breath or posture of the body is steadying. Getting the balance between letting emotions flow and coming back to the body is a skill to learn and become confident in which brings us on to the next comparison.
Confident or doubtful?
Confidence with being able to meditate is great. A confident person will tend to just have a good go.
However, being overconfident can be a problem as all sorts of mental states can reveal themselves in meditation.
An overly faithful person might then take these states to be absolute; believing themselves to have "arrived" in meditation terms (arrived where?) and then at the worst stop! They could then wander around spouting off how wonderful they found meditation to be and how wonderful they are now. It has happened, I've done it myself a couple of times but found some good remedies to this little snag area of meditation.
One remedy here is to loosen off the confidence and investigate a little more into what is happening. Are these relaxing mental states permanent? They may feel permanent at the time, but are they really?
Another good one is to do a really-mundane-boring-task... like the washing up, or clipping the garden hedge, or washing the toilet; something like that. Where is your wonderful mental state now you have a pile of washing up to do?
Lastly, and if all else fails, go spend a week or so with your family. See how long your "super" calm state lasts in that situation!
From experience, and from what others often say, there is always someone in the family that is causing some kind of a problem. Go see them, see how your mental state is with them about. Calm might well be replaced with restlessness, wanting to fix the problem, annoyance and so on; all very human down to earth stuff and a good reflection on not getting too carried away with deep calm mental states.
Confidence is good but does need to be balanced with a bit of wisdom. Mindfulness is a way of life leading to the here and now; that is all.
Doubt, I've found is more difficult to overcome.
At least with a confident person, the odd "prod" here and there can steer them in the right direction; they'll tend to go off confidently in that direction until another "prod" is needed to stop them going too far.
An overly doubtful person, on the other hand, can go so stuck they won't even get up and go anywhere.
The key here is a bit of reassurance from someone more experienced. It is like going on a walk into the unknown, a guide is needed.
A good guide will teach the other person how to read the map and then navigate for themselves. A bad guide will let the doubtful person depend on them, only increasing their doubts in the long run.
So taking in what others say and then exploring it for oneself is a good approach for an overly cautious person. Take on board the advice, then go away and put it into practise, and don't be too concerned if it goes wrong.
I've gone wrong many times with meditation (that really is another whole blog series probably a book even) but I've listened and learnt from others, made adjustments and carried on.
That is how one learns.
Do you know any other types we could discuss?
I hope you have enjoyed this little mini-series. If you can think of any more types of personalities (your own or others) and how they handle meditation then I'd love to hear from you.
Take care for now and remember just do your best.