Tag Archive for: expectations

Now that’s a hard thing to do. Sometimes our expectations are high, sometimes we don’t even know we have them. But they tend to frame the experiences we have. In the following account, an Axis YTT student works to re-establish a meditation practice. It is expectation of both past and future experiences that cloud this student’s vision of success. And in a little twist, it is the meditation that reveals that their expectation of Self was not matching with their actual behavior. Read on…


For my personal experiment I wanted to develop a consistent meditation practice. The first time I meditated was eleven months ago. I had this overwhelming need inside of me to meditate, even though I did not know how to meditate and did not know any one personally who meditated. So I began to meditate intuitively. I would sit at random hours of the day, I would use music and crystals during my meditations. I immediately began to have “interesting experiences” for lack of a better description. These experiences included but not limited to: intense spinning sensations, floating sensation, strong vibration, seeing lights and colors in my head, seeing geometry flying in my head, seeing the universe so clearly I felt I was floating in the midst of it and having what seemed like an external force pushing my body in all directions (should I have resisted it would have required muscle engagement). I practiced pretty consistently for about three months. My practice was partly driven by these “interesting experiences” I was having but was initiated for spiritual growth. Then I started working as a nurse full time and my practice started to dwindle. I wanted to maintain it, so I set my alarm, when it went off, I would literally roll out of bed, take a seat and meditate. This was not effective, I would doze off most of the time. Then I thought I would meditate before bed, this too was not effective as I was not consistent with it. And eventually I was not meditating at all.

So my experiment was around developing a consistent meditation practice that I could integrate into my lifestyle. My plan was to set my alarm for five thirty, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, splash cold water on my face, change clothes and then sit for ten to fifteen minutes. For the meditation, I planned to start with some breathing, a mantra, then just sit in silence, and end with gratitude. For these couple of weeks I was able to accomplish all of this except I did not change my clothes. I found I really loved to splash the cold water on my face, I felt so refreshed afterwards. The breathing I did was just full deep breaths visualizing the breath entering and exiting my body. This helped me to come into my body and helped my mind to become present in the moment. I chose two different mantras to use. These mantras are Sanskrit mantras, they are sayings that I had artistically written out and put on my wall. I got these from Charles F. Haanel and they resonate with my being. The first is “I can be what I will to be” and the second is “I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.” I would say each of these many times and eventually when it felt right I would sit in silence. The goal was to silence my mind, but that is a work in progress for me. Often my mind wanders, but when I become aware of that, I bring my mind back to silence. I would sit for around ten to fifteen minutes. Then I would end with expressions of gratitude. That was my practice for these past weeks and I am happy to say that I did it every single day.

Even though I accomplished practicing every day, it did not come without its struggles. The most notable one being getting up in the morning. I made a point to get to bed earlier but I still struggled. I did fine getting up the first couple of days and then it started getting harder for me. I would wake up tired and I just wanted to stay in bed a little bit longer. The next thing I struggled with was letting go of the “interesting experience” I had experienced previously. I had not only began to expect having those experiences but I wanted to have those experiences. I enjoyed them and had placed some spiritual significance onto them. I worked to let that expectation go because that is not what meditation is about and I don’t want to be attached to it that way. But it is hard for me to let it go because to me those experiences were very enjoyable and a part of me thinks if I do not have those experiences I am not meditating correctly. I do not know why I have that belief but that belief is there. So for this experiment I wanted it to be okay with myself to just sit and be knowing that that was enough. I am still working on that.


When this experiment time was coming to a close I was asking myself what has changed for me and what has improved. At first I could not come up with anything and I felt like a failure. I wanted this to have some tangible significant impact on my life, I wanted some spiritual revelation or epiphany about what to do with my life. Expectation rises its head again. Yesterday I realized that I had become more aware of my being in one aspect and it is something that I am embarrassed of and do not want to admit. I recently became more aware of how I interact with people and distinctly that I sometimes say things that are sharp and not nice. I come off negative without realizing it. When I had this awareness about myself I was confused and embarrassed because this is not how I picture myself in my head. I am this way with my co-workers and my family and I am ashamed of it. So I put a plan in place for me and I recruited the help of my co-workers. I asked them if I said anything negative or not nice if they would call me out on it because for some reason I am not catching it myself. I am thankful that they were all up to the task and understanding. I am doing this so I can become more aware of my actions and words and how they affect people. I do not know if this awareness about myself came out of my meditation or not. But I am thankful to have been given this awareness, as painful as it has been, because I have already felt my personal growth from it.

I plan to continue my morning meditation and have no plans to stop it. I feel that it is so important for me to do. I feel I have barely touched the tip of the iceberg with my practice and I want to develop it much more. But I am glad to have started again and look forward to continued integration into my practice.