Progress in meditation may be slower than we anticipate. Discouragement develops when the comparing mind holds unrealistic expectations, demands perfection, and craves for measurable progress, predictable results, or signposts of success. This obstacle of discouragement has roots in conceit and the comparing mind. To prevent discouragement, we develop skillful ways to uplift the discouraged mind, nurture patience, and trust in the unfolding of the path.
Four Practice Tips to Apply If You Feel Discouraged
Recall your purpose. Reflecting on an inspiring aim such as liberating the mind from the causes of suffering can re-direct our efforts toward a worthwhile purpose.
Reflect on the beautiful qualities of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. Contemplating these three refuges can build inspiration and confidence to continue to practice through difficult patches.
Remind yourself of the importance of virtue, patience, equanimity, forbearance, commitment, self-discipline, and determination. These qualities may prevent you from giving up when you can not see measurable progress.
Avoid assessing where you are on maps of spiritual progress. Trust the power of mindfully meeting each moment, and wisely responding to whatever is occurring now. Keep the practice simple.