Does any of my meditation and practicing actually have any effect on my day-to-day life? Is it actually improving my life in some real way?
Eknath Easwaran offers a way to test if effort spent on the spiritual journey is worthwhile. He poses a few simple questions:
Is my mind dwelling less on negative thoughts and emotions?
Am I more patient?
Am I able to be more present and kind to my colleagues and my family?
Do I feel less anxious?
Measuring against this yardstick (even though I often feel my meditation practice is moving forward so slowly that progress is imperceptible) I am making some headway. At work, if there’s a thorny or emotionally charged issue (there are many) I find myself not so instantly defensive and that I’m not brooding much over it after work is finished. Instead, my mind is free to focus on other issues. At home and at work I feel more patient when things don’t go as planned, and I feel less anxious about the things of my to-do lists that I haven’t yet done.
Eknath’s questions have been a good check-in for me and it’s motivating to see that there are valuable results of the effort I’ve put into practicing meditation.