Not too much info at all.
The reason I ask is that, particularly within my own tradition, I've noticed that some people place a lot of value on the affective "feel" of meditation and other artefacts such as distractedness, presence of lustful thoughts, drowsiness, painful and pleasurable sensations & etc as indicative of how "good" or "successful" their meditative experience is.
Personally, I think its a mistake.
In the past I was very bad for assigning each meditation a rating of "good" or "bad" dependant upon my attachment or aversion to these affective feelings. It has been my intent to not take such an approach this time around. However, I continue to use the labels "good" and "bad" in terms what is, and is not, effective in making my mind mindful and steady for reflection.
A lot of the difficulties we experience in meditation (hindrances) manifest as a result of attempting to meditate. They are, to a small extent, indicative of some progress. However, if we end up indulging in our hindrances during meditation then it becomes a barrier.
There have been many times in the past when I had enjoyable meditations, and then fancied that I had turned a corner and could expect that all my future sessions would be like that. Obvious clinging, but I was taken in by it many times. Needless to say, that expectation only served to amplified the inevitable difficulties I would experienced in practice. These expectations of what meditation will be or should be ignored the complexity of how life and mind are conditioned. There is no flipping of a switch to make things happen, there is only conditioning to make things happen. And with such complex conditioning, there is uncertainty regarding what will happen. Keeping this complexity in mind helps me adjust my approach, and observe the outcome, with enough detachment that I don't become to upset with difficulties.(keeping this fact in mind is harder off the cushion, actually - which allows me to get into trouble in life generally
Sometimes we're going to have meditation sessions that will feel great and others that will feel...ordinary. Just don't place to much value or attempt to interpret the session through the phenomenology that is rising and falling.
Ordinary is (mostly) fine, now. I do not feel as obsessed with unique and wonderful experiences in my practice. Just cooling is my goal, and it is a long term one rather than a sense that I must be free RIGHT NOW!
And over interpreting my meditation does not help me in that, so I have been avoiding every classification of my meditation experience except those in accordance with satipatthana.
They're (meditation sessions) are all good!
I hope I made sense!
You are absolutely right. In fact, this has been my credo since beginning this challenge: "meditation is good, however it unfolds". If it was not, then I would have quit already; this meditation stuff is hard work, after all. Haha.
Thanks for the feedback, Ben. It is always appreciated.