A User’s Guide to a Journey Called Mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation is not a one-time thing. You do it again and again. As you keep doing it, a variety of challenges emerge. Here’s some advice for traveling the path of meditation.

It’s a paradox that never goes away. You start meditating because you want to get somewhere to find some improvement, gain some benefits. But if you reach for benefits, as longtime meditator Jessica Morey says, “you can become striving-oriented, obsessed with trying to get somewhere, to gain experiences.” And yet, meditation, like life, can feel like a journey. It may not be clear where you’re going or whether you have a destination at all, and yet you keep going. It’s not a path from A to Z. It meanders, cycles, and circles back on itself. Fortunately, there are fellow travelers in this journey called mindfulness.

As we at Mindful know from speaking with a lot of people, different questions can pop up at different stages of their journey, whether they are dipping their toes in the water of meditation for the first time, starting to make it a bigger part of their life, or have been doing it for many years. And no matter where you are, it always helps to have the attitude of a beginner, humbled by the power of the mind.

Mindful contributor Jonathan Roberts talked to six of our favorite meditation teachers (see below) to gain their insights about the kinds of challenges that people have in adding meditation to their lives. Each of them in their own way emphasized that it can be a trap to keep thinking that you’re trying to get somewhere (see paradox above). As Will Kabat-Zinn put it, “Practice is really all about helping people step out of this kind of linear thinking. Part of what is so refreshing and