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I have been practicing different kinds of meditation for a year and more. But I don't know where I am and what my next step is. What should I do ?

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  • It can be helpful to define a context. Perhaps study various traditions, see which ones you warm towards. – NeuroMax Jan 8 at 19:08
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There are five opportunties for spiritual freedom:

AN5.26:1.1: “Mendicants, there are these five opportunities for freedom. If a mendicant stays diligent, keen, and resolute at these times, their mind is freed, their defilements are ended, and they arrive at the supreme sanctuary.
AN5.26:2.1: What five? Firstly, the Teacher or a respected spiritual companion teaches Dhamma to a mendicant. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how the Teacher or a respected spiritual companion teaches it. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the first opportunity for freedom. If a mendicant stays diligent, keen, and resolute at this time, their mind is freed, their defilements are ended, and they arrive at the supreme sanctuary.
AN5.26:3.1: Furthermore, it may be that neither the Teacher nor a respected spiritual companion teaches Dhamma to a mendicant. But the mendicant teaches Dhamma in detail to others as they learned and memorized it. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how they teach it in detail to others as they learned and memorized it. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the second opportunity for freedom. …
AN5.26:4.1: Furthermore, it may be that neither the Teacher nor … the mendicant teaches Dhamma. But the mendicant recites the teaching in detail as they learned and memorized it. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how they recite it in detail as they learned and memorized it. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the third opportunity for freedom. …
AN5.26:5.1: Furthermore, it may be that neither the Teacher nor … the mendicant teaches Dhamma … nor does the mendicant recite the teaching. But the mendicant thinks about and considers the teaching in their heart, examining it with the mind as they learned and memorized it. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how they think about and consider it in their heart, examining it with the mind as they learned and memorized it. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the fourth opportunity for freedom. …
AN5.26:6.1: Furthermore, it may be that neither the Teacher nor … the mendicant teaches Dhamma … nor does the mendicant recite the teaching … or think about it. But a meditation subject as a foundation of immersion is properly grasped, attended, borne in mind, and comprehended with wisdom. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how a meditation subject as a foundation of immersion is properly grasped, attended, borne in mind, and comprehended with wisdom. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the fifth opportunity for freedom. …

Although meditation alone is mentioned in the fifth opportunity, be sure to investigate the other four. Importantly, the teachings are mentioned again and again.

Study the suttas. Find a teacher and good spiritual companions. You will need all three to help develop meditation, wisdom and ethics together.

AN2.126:1.1: “There are two conditions for the arising of right view.
AN2.126:1.2: What two?
AN2.126:1.3: The words of another and proper attention.

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I have been practicing different kinds of meditation for a year and more. But I don't know where am I and what is my next step. what should I do ?

You could find a teacher within a tradition that seems agreeable to you. A teacher can guide you on the path. It's like walking through the woods. The teacher has walked the path or part of it and can guide the student through it.

You could also do a meditation retreat and get a real taste of the practice. The Goenka 10 day silent meditation retreat is a popular retreat for both newcomers and advanced practitioners. It can be found worldwide and is totally free and donation based.

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This answer is based on Theravada Buddhism.

Before doing anything else, you should get at least a basic understanding of Buddhism.

The following reading material can help you with that:

  1. ATI's A Path to Freedom: A Self-guided Tour of the Buddha's Teachings.
  2. The book "What the Buddha Taught" by Ven. Walpola Rahula. You can find the PDF version here.
  3. The ebook "Without and Within" by Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro.

In Buddhism, you first start with taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, and taking up the the five precepts.

The five precepts:

  1. I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
  2. I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
  4. I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
  5. I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

Please read "Going for Refuge & Taking the Precepts" by Ven. Bodhi for more details.

What are the next steps? Meditation?

No. Not yet.

Next would be deepening one's virtues (sila) by learning about and practising Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood.

OK. So, can we start meditation now?

Sure. Please read Ven. Yuttadhammo's "How to Meditate" ebook and watch his video series on this.

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Each individual has their own understanding, their own Dharma and therefore their own foundations.

Following the precepts of the Noble Path will guide you and your intuition will inform what is relevant for your Dharma.

A few possible suggestions that I have found useful:

  • Connecting your intentions to your actions (does your internal commentary match your outwards demeanour?).
  • Inspecting your environmental influences (do they promote your cultivation?).
  • Tummo practice for connecting your mind, energy and body (google voluntary piloerection for direction; where does the shivers slow or get blocked?).
  • Other physical meditations could include understanding the position of where you hold your breath (chest, belly, etc) and how and where your held breath reflects on your actions; calisthenics, arts, intakes and fasts.
  • Keep an active journal of what practices work for you and insights (it doesn't need to be dated).

Meditations are art techniques borne and refined through insight.

Cultivate in harmony.

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