I was trying to explain meditation to a friend the other day, and I found myself struggling. She asked how I quiet my mind in meditation, and I said, well, I am not always successful, but that meditation gives me a set time to practice. She asked what it was like, I said it varied. But I said that I knew that whatever happened when I sat down for meditation, no matter what it felt like, was meditation. That was hard to get across, and I’m not sure I did.
It had taken me a while to get to this understanding, and I think it came through watching the effect of the meditation on myself and on my day to realize that even if the meditation felt choppy or even not like meditation at all, sitting down for it always benefitted me.
So, I was thrilled to see this passage in The Heart of Meditation, confirming this experience.
Much of the work of meditation takes place underground, and much of it is imperceptible. That is one reason why we measure our progress in meditation not so much by what happens during a particular session of meditation, as by the subtle ways in which a regular meditation practice changes our feelings about ourselves and the world. p. 273. The Heart of Meditation: Pathways to a Deeper Experience.