I have many friends that jump full force into a practice like an addiction, only to burn out completely a few weeks or months later. They do this repeatedly and each time leave everything behind – always on the lookout for the next high or the perfect practice.
Other friends stay rigidly with a specific practice or set of practices, never deviating from their routine. Ever.
For me, both of these groups blow my mind. I look at practices as I look at working out or food – variety is not only the spice of life, but also incredibly healthy. When you go hog wild on an exercise then injury typically occurs, and if you continue to push through, the injuries continue to become worse. Looking at food, it is the equivalent of binging and purging. Neither extreme is healthy. When you look at food or exercise, the idea of “Everything in moderation, nothing in excess” comes to mind.
If you do the same exercise routine for years, your body gets used to it, and you stop seeing results or change as it is not a challenge for your body anymore. Just make slight adjustments or change up your routine, and results start to occur again. For food, many develop allergies to foods if they are eaten all of the time and, quite honestly, you are not getting the variety of nutrients your body needs with a limited diet.
At this point, I have been meditating for 16 years. Throughout this time I have tried many different styles and types of meditation. When do I typically switch? I do when a specific style does not feel good to me anymore. That does not mean that I drop that meditation style completely, but that it may be put to the side for me to experiment with something different. There is no one right way for everyone, and getting curious about what will take me further on my path is exceedingly fun for me. On occasions I have tried some that I absolutely hated and others loved. For example, silent seated meditation is a favorite for many, but I have found that it increases “crazy brain” for me if I do it too often. Theta drum beats, on the other hand, sooth my “crazy brain” and I typically feel more benefits from my meditation experience.
So what does this all mean? Feel good about trying various practices, and keep what resonates while leaving the rest. To me, each one you learn is just another tool in your tool belt. You can pull it out when it feels like the one that resonates for you at the time. There is no wrong way or right way to do practices. Just make sure that they feel good for you and can be healthily incorporated into your lifestyle.