The Mind is Everything, What you Think You become” – The Buddha"
I am writing this because after many years of practicing, studying and teaching meditation, I realize that cultivating an effective meditation practice is still the number one challenge for most of my students.
Meditation, as simple as it may seem, sitting down doing nothing, quietly for a period of time, seems easy right? Well it sounds easy, yet for many the challenge can be huge. The reason for this is because we are so accustomed to functioning actively in the high stress and activity of our physical world. It can be tricky to get the body to stay still for a while, and to let the mind slow down for a while.
The idea that we can slow the mind, or stop thought is the great misconception of meditation though. The goal is not to shut the mind down to stop thinking, rather harness the creative power of the mind, taming it so you can choose to think, and use your thoughts wisely. The ability to choose the thoughts you want to think without creating an emotional response in the body which could potentially set you off on a tangent of thoughts and feelings that are unwanted is the greatest gift of meditation.
An example of this could be that time you yelled at your child, and still haven’t been able to let it go. You think of it, and when you do, your body fills with feelings of guilt as you replay the scenario in your head, over and over again, thinking of it and relaying the feeling again and again in your emotions, re-experiencing it again and again. This is something we will be covering in another module of this course, how meditation can play a part in the art of creative manifestation. More specifically how your thoughts influence feeling, and how feeling then influences more though that eventually gains momentum until it eventually becomes your reality.
Meditation is the art of being able to tune into your mind, and becoming consciously aware of the patterns of thought you have been thinking. Are your current thoughts a byproduct of you living in the past, running it over and over again in your mind? Or are you constantly thinking of the future, and about what is going to happen to you? Or are you harnessing your attention into the present moment, focusing on now? Probably not right? It is important to know where you are at with that, so you can choose which way to direct your thinking hereon.
This is the ultimate goal of meditation, to be able to harness your attention, and focus it into the present moment. That sounds easy too right? Well, how easy it is or not depends on how much time you have spent on a specific thought. It is quite a discipline to be able to really focus your mind consciously into the present moment. This is our true point of power, when you consider that everything you are living in your present condition is a product of what you have thought about in the past. The here and now is so important to begin directing your intention into a future you want to create, based on what you are thinking and feeling now.
When you meditate you want to learn to be able to direct your thoughts wisely, and to be able to choose to think thoughts that make you feel good. When you become aware of the fact that the mind and the emotional body are interconnected, and affect each other you will want to have mastery over your mind, and the thoughts you choose to think. The result of this will be that you have mastery over yourself, your reactions to circumstances, and your life as a result. You will be free.
Try the following exercise now.
Think of a negative situation in your life. Choose something that makes you feel bad, sad or guilty. In my case, it is the experience I mentioned above, thinking about the time I yelled at my child during a time of great stress. It makes me feel bad, and guilty. It makes me feel like I failed as a parent in that moment. It makes me feel like I should have known better to have more control of myself. That is my experience with this thought.
Now think about a negative situation of your own. Tap into the feeling that it creates in your emotions, and in your body, notice where you feel it. Where do you feel it, in your chest, or maybe in your stomach? My negative feeling typically sits right in the pit of my stomach. It makes me feel all closed up, almost tight and breathless. That is how the negative emotion starts to manifest in my body. Where does it manifest in yours? Connect in with your body and try to notice it.
Now think of a positive situation, one that makes you feel happy. I’ll think about when my children were born. I can see the situation in my mind, and feel a sense of life purpose, fulfillment and elation. I feel invincible after child birth. My heart bursts with feelings of love and inspiration, and the longing to truly love and nurture the little being that I just gave birth to. Do the same, connect with your positive memory and notice the difference between the positive and negative experience, and how it feels in your body.
Now do this exercise with the new awareness that you have the power to choose what you think about, and how you can feel as a result. You have just acknowledged, and stepped into your greatest creative power with this realization and discovery. The power of your mind. Now I want to help you to cultivate that.
Do you see now how thoughts influence feeling? And do you see the way that good or bad thoughts create a different physical sensation, emotion and experience in your body? This is a perfect and tangible example of the mind, emotion and body connection.
In a nutshell, the practice of meditation can help you to slow down the frantic train of thought you typically experience daily. It can help you to actively choose what thoughts you want to invest in emotionally, and as a result you can decrease the amount of stress, tension and anxiety you feel in your body and mind on a daily basis, enhancing your overall health and wellbeing as a result.
The daily practice of meditation will change your life. It will change you, and how you feel inside and out. With consistent and gradual practice and discipline you will notice a change in how you feel physically and mentally, and you will see a drastic reduction of stress and anxiety as your brain and body slows down. You will experience improvement in your relationships, both at home and at work as you become less reactive to situations, and more aware of how you respond to triggers, events and experiences in the environment around you.
Eventually you will realize that your mind has great creative power, and that the thoughts you think and how you choose to use your mind in turn creates the reality you live. If that does not mean freedom, and empowerment, then I don’t know what does! Try it, and see what you think?
If you loved this and are curious to hear more, make sure you check out my podcast 'The Mind Trip #3 - Meditation to Mastery, of which this blog was written to accompany.
And you can also check out my new YouTube channel 'The Mind Trip - Karma TV' where I am posting all kinds of great video resources featuring tools for transformation that you can start to use in your life right now!
Until next time,