I love meditating. I do it every day and practice a form of meditation called Free Awareness. I didn’t always love it though. I used to struggle with it all the time. Truth be told, I probably spent more time mastering ‘how to struggle’ than I did ‘how to meditate’.
Maybe you can relate? Odds are, if you are like most people, you find it as challenging as I did to meditate for more than 5 or 10 minutes.
Moving Beyond Struggle
These days, I don’t meditate to relax or relieve stress, although those are great reasons to meditate. I practice to cultivate deep joy and confidence in the source of existence.
I have been meditating consistently now for nearly twenty years. And in the last ten, it’s become a source of confidence and inspiration. I could never have imagined that when I started. Truth is, I don’t often hear people talk about meditation in the context of developing confidence, but that’s why I practice meditation.
And I don’t think it needs to take ten years to get there. In fact, there are three key insights I want to share with you that can help you find confidence through meditation much faster than I ever did.
Let me explain.
Letting Go of Everything
Real meditation means letting go of everything, and letting go of everything reveals a depth of self that is infinite and free from the world. Spending time diligently letting everything go while sitting quietly without moving is like soaking in a sea of pure goodness.
Imagine it for a moment. Your mind and soul are clear—released from all cares and problems. All your senses are engaged and your awareness is expanding. You are soaring without moving a single muscle and the animating mystery of life infuses every cell of your being.
There is perfect silence and stillness there, and an abiding sense of completion and communion.
1) Meditation Reveals Your Limitless Nature
No doubt, that’s a beautiful experience—and one I’ve had often in meditation. But I have noticed something interesting over time. The more I practice, the more my understanding of this free and infinite dimension has changed.
And this is the first key insight I want to share with you.
I found that meditation is not about a particular experience of expanded consciousness. Rather, it reveals that who I am, at the deepest level, is unchanging and infinite.
This distinction—between an experience of no boundaries and an actual self-sense that is unlimited—is important. Especially so for Westerners like myself. I’m going to go out on a limb here and wager that it’s important for you too.
Beyond a Limited Sense of Self
You see, most of us fail to realize that the peace and freedom we seek is already an inherent part of who we are at the deepest level. If we are to trust the mystics and sages of the East, this freedom is a fundamental part of our nature. But most of us don’t know it through our own experience or understand how to access it.
For many of us, it’s a new idea. Our identities are mostly tied to the limited criteria of what we’ve accomplished, where we grew up, who we know, our class, our race, our history, etc. That’s certainly part of the picture, and those are important and valid aspects of who we are as human beings.
But it’s possible to discover a source of self that is beyond these qualities. And, it’s one that is arguably more important.
Meditation Builds Confidence in Your Limitless Self
Because, when you discover that a dimension of who you are is always already free, infinite, and forever untouched by circumstance, it gives you confidence. You aren’t so easily buffeted by the winds of change. Through practice, part of you becomes rooted in a dimension of self that is forever unchanging and always at peace.
That doesn’t mean that having a strong meditation practice always means that you and I are at peace. But, it does give you a reference point outside the storm. You know that whatever is happening, no matter how dramatic, part of you isn’t touched by any of it.
How do you know?
Because, through your practice, you have touched that place in yourself again and again until you are convinced that it’s both real and essentially who you are. It’s that knowledge, more than any exalted experience, which gives you confidence. And, it’s possible to cultivate that confidence through a strong, stable, and consistent meditation practice.
As our experience of this dimension grows through practice, so too does our conviction in the part of us that is unlimited and already free. It becomes part of the matrix of our own identity.
All this is a huge shift. I used to think that deep and powerful experiences of this limitless self were the main event. And that’s just it. I thought of it as an experience. Most of us do. I could ride an experience of higher awareness for long periods of time and learn a lot.
Of course, these experiences are important. They probably fueled my interest in meditation more than anything else. I’m guessing that’s true for you too.
But the deeper understanding I’m speaking about is the key to finding real and lasting confidence through meditation. If you know from the outset that you are accessing a deeper part of yourself when you meditate, and not just falling into an experience of ecstasy, you will derive more benefit from meditation.
2) Awareness Is Who You Are
Here’s the second insight and a key part of discovering confidence through meditation. Once you start to know and trust in this deeper aspect of yourself, you start to see meditation in much simpler terms. In truth, meditation is all about letting yourself rest in awareness.
Over time, you begin to understand that awareness has no boundaries. And more importantly, that awareness is the core of who and what you are. You can explore this for yourself through the exercise featured in our article, Who Am I?
The implications are pretty significant. As you gain confidence through your practice, you realize that there is nowhere to go, no distance to travel, and no experience to have in order to rest in eternity. It means that you are never apart or separate from that infinite dimension of self. It’s who you are, and you know it.
And guess what, you no longer depend on experiences of infinity to know this truth.
3) Letting Go Is A Choice
There is a final insight I want to share. It’s another key to building confidence through meditation.
You gain confidence in meditation precisely because it’s not passive. You are choosing to let go over and over again. That letting go is freedom itself. It’s not an experience. Letting go is a choice you make again and again.
For me, it’s endlessly fascinating. Sitting still, letting go of every thought, feeling, interpretation, and aberration in my mind never ceases to amaze me. Whether I focus on relaxing, paying attention, or sitting still, each is a doorway to deeper letting go.
And each doorway illuminates new insights to let go of. The letting go never stops.
When you really give yourself to your meditation practice, this freedom becomes magnetic and compelling. When you get the hang of it, you start to relish that choice for pure freedom above everything. You want nothing, you need nothing, and you choose that over and over again.
Meditation can help you build enormous confidence in life. If you understand these three insights and the difference between experiencing infinity versus accessing a deeper dimension of self, your practice will take off. Just keep all this in mind and keep letting everything go.