The Zen Life
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The Zen Life

Photo credit: Valentina Yoga

The three stages of meditation practice

Stage One: Survival.

Meditation is keeping oneself afloat in a raging sea of inner voices and extreme emotions. It’s a refuge from being dragged down. The challenge here is that the voices have a big foothold and talk the practitioner out of meditation and other things that could help. It’s hard to practice when the circumstances of life are challenging (unfortunately, it’s the time when most people seek practice in the first place).

Stage Two: Maintenance.

Meditation is keeping oneself balanced. It’s a preventive measure from going into survival and dysfunction (again). The challenge here is to keep going because typically the novelty has worn off by this time and the voices are angling for “results” to warrant continuing. If everything is going well or something new shows up, the voices suggest quitting and moving on.

Stage Three: Thriving.

Meditation is seeing through the illusion of mental constructs and a shift in consciousness. It heightens one’s awareness and ignites creativity, full expression, and increased performance. The challenge here is the same as usual: The voices. They still come up with excuses to quit and suffer, but the practitioner is now using the voices as “flags” to deepen their practice. The voices are worthy opponents to overcome in the process of mastery, freedom, and compassionate self-mentoring.

In lovingkindness,

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Alex Mill

Alex Mill


I trained in a Zen monastery for nearly 14 years. Now, I offer my extensive experience to transform people’s lives & businesses through timeless Zen principles.