How do I get the changes I want from meditating?

Thinking about goals for meditation touches on one of the biggest paradoxes about it. Although we always want to be happier and feel well, bringing strong expectations to meditation practice can often get in the way.

In general, if we try to create or prevent emotions from happening, we can get into trouble, since we're bringing an agenda with us. You can check it out and see — are you meditating in order to become a better person? To change yourself? Become free of anger, addiction, boredom, procrastination? While you might still have these agendas, if you aren't aware of them they can become obstacles to practice because you can start expecting that meditation will make you feel better or else it isn't working.

See if you can have an attitude of open curiosity towards meditating and be curious about it instead of goal oriented. When you notice the tendency to control or fix, see if you can include that in your meditation by noting it and shifting back to the focus of your practice like the breath or walking. Practicing this helps the mind naturally finds its way to more well-being.

Natural interest and kindness are key here. As the psychologist Carl Rogers said, "The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." Try it for yourself and see what happens.

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