Meditation instructors often implore their students to keep quiet about their practice. Not to tell anyone they’re meditating for the first few years.
It’s form of discernment and boundaries. Honoring the practice by keeping the energy and excitement inside until it’s ready to be released into the world.
Without this form of containment, we allow the marketplace to supersede what we think. We allow other people’s doubts to weaken our faith before it has had the opportunity to mature. And that can hurt our journey in the long run.
When I first started practicing yoga, I couldn’t help but want to proselytize about my newfound enlightenment. But one of my instructors said something I’ll never forget.
Your own quiet changes will be the most convincing statement.
She was right. Because in the early stages of any new practice, you’re dammed either way. A lack of enthusiasm from other people can derail you, but too much enthusiasm from other people can prematurely give you a reward for something you haven’t finished yet.
The point is, whether it’s meditation or exercise or diet or developing an unconventional belief system, the ultimate goal is to make personal choices divorced from inherited morals and the values of the current culture. And so, when the foundation of your faith is still flimsy and unripe, don’t be too eager to throw open the doors and welcome comments from all corners. Don’t allow people to prematurely taste your thoughts, adding their own ingredients before you’ve had the chance spice it yourself.
Trust the power of your containment. When the time is right, you’ll be ready to tell the world.
What have you been practicing in silence for the past five years?
Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and workstudy volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.