How will I know that it is working?

The great benefit of mindfulness meditation is not in providing temporary symptomatic relief from bouts of tension. It is not a relaxation exercise. Mindfulness meditation, practiced diligently, is a transformative endeavor.

The goal is to change in a fundamental way the manner in which we process our life experience, eliminating chronic stress and anxiety at the root. The result is the enjoyment of greater satisfaction from pleasant experience, less suffering from unpleasant experience, and an overall increase in the baseline level of happiness in life.

Among the first benefits new meditators frequently notice are: a realization that circumstances and events that once would have caused irritation or emotional upset now seem to just pass right through without causing a ripple; awareness that relationships with friends, family and coworkers seem to improve; and an experience of happiness for no apparent reason.

These benefits typically first become apparent within a few months of beginning regular practice and grow stronger with time. The changes can occur more quickly in some and take longer in others. But if your meditation practice is not at least producing positive change in your relationships with others within a year, it is time to examine your methods.

The take away message here is that mindfulness meditation will transform your life. Walking the dog probably will not.