What do you gain from meditation? Consider what could be. Imagine “a world of peace and ease,” yours without changing a thing. Imagine perfect mental balance: “a balance of mind never upset by any event under the canopy of heaven.” Meditation promises great things: “Great Liberation;” “Great Knowledge;” “Great tranquility.” The promise however is rarely fulfilled.

Most who meditate gain little more than rest and relaxation. The shortfall is due to flaw in traditional methods. That flaw limits practice skill to the beginner level, or worse -- you can practice and get even less effective over time. What is the flaw? Meditation is missing something. Let me explain.

Meditation: What’s Missing?

What’s missing in meditation? To a research psychologist with an interest in skill learning, the answer is obvious. Meditation lacks what skill learning requires. It lacks feedback. Practice leads to improvement only if we can see what we are doing. In basketball for instance, shooting hoops in darkness only wastes time. Knowledge of results is necessary for learning. The same rule applies to becoming skilled at meditation.

Shooting Hoops In Darkness? Why Meditation Requires Feedback

In meditation, attention is the skill to develop. Meditation benefits increase with increased power of concentration.

When you sit down to meditate however, attention slips away unseen. Like shooting hoops in darkness, you practice without knowing whether or not you’re on target. The problem is you lose attention without knowing you’re losing it, finding out later when you wake from a daydream.

All traditional techniques share this flaw. They provide no feedback -- no way to monitor attention and know you’re on target. Yet amazingly, the feedback meditation needs is right before our eyes and has been there all along, unrecognized! Here’s how to find it.

Finding Feedback Right Before Your Eyes!

Ever since its ancient origin, sensations of light have been noted in meditation. “Illumination” is described; light is seen at enlightenment. We failed to see its physical cause however, and so never realized it was visual feedback – the very thing we need to excel at meditation.

Light sensations in meditation are produced when an image is “fixed,” that is, held in the same place on the eyes retinas. The fixed image uses up photo pigment (like exposing photographic film). Retinal fatigue from focused attention causes the light when good attention holds the eyes still.

The light (caused by attention) is a feedback signal. It tells you you’re on target. Then, when the mind wanders, the eyes wander too and the light disappears. Using the light as feedback, it’s impossible to lose attention without being alerted – called back by visible signals. Thus the light brings the same advantage as seeing your target shooting hoops. Your practice skill improves automatically.

Feedback Meditation’s How-To

Feedback brings precision self-guidance to each and every practice session. Finding feedback is as easy as focusing attention on a spot on the floor. Specialty designed Focusing Discs however, are freely available at the Straight Line Meditation website. These discs facilitate feedback, assuring beginners instant success. Focus on the bull’s eye and feedback comes within seconds. Attend to the light signal and you anchor attention. You can then hold attention the way you would grab a rope for a tow. Feedback upgrades practice, leading straight to the best meditation.

How Feedback Upgrades Meditation Practice

Feedback upgrades practice by eliminating the shortfalls of traditional methods. Feedback eliminates:
* Wasted practice time. (With traditional methods, even with the best intentions, time is spent dreaming and drifting when you'd hoped for attention.)
* Slow, or even no practice skill development. ("After twenty years," warned a Zen Master, "you can finally say you've begun to learn how to sit.")
* Slow, unreliably progress. (Traditional methods yield slow, unreliable benefit. “Just sit” says Buddhism, “Maybe after many lifetimes you will come upon the truth.")

Poor performance is typical due to these shortfalls. Great benefit is rare.

Feedback, however, makes possible fast, sure practice skill development and productive use of every minute of practice time. It gives you a personal (meditation) trainer with a constantly vigilant eye.

Remember, it’s how well you meditate (not necessarily how long), that determines your benefit. Feedback opens access to meditation’s unfulfilled promise.

Author's Bio: 

As a National Science Foundation Trainee, Carol earned a Doctorate in psychology from Penn State University. National Institute of Mental Health and American Philosophical Society grants followed and Carol published widely in distinguished journals including the American Journal of Psychology. Her book WHERE MEDICINE FAILS (paperback 2009), was a driving force in the holistic health movement. Discovery of a feedback meditation method, however, and the breakthrough it produced, redirected Carol’s life to teaching, testing and refining the method and to crafting enlightenment tests to guide readers. The work culminated in 2009 with: STRAIGHT LINE MEDITATION: HOW TO RESTORE AWARENESS AND WHY YOU NEED TO by Carol E. McMahon, Ph.D. with martial arts Master Deac Cataldo. She is married, has a daughter, holds a sixth degree black belt in Karate, and makes her book available free of charge to retreat centers and prison libraries. More at: http://www.StraightLineMeditation.com and http://www.TheBestWayToMeditate.com.