Have you ever been told you need to "clear your head" or "get rid of all the clutter"? For many, including myself, the idea of sitting quietly with an empty mind seems impossible. If fact, this idea is often a barrier to any attempts to meditate or try mindfulness exercises.
I often see patients in my psychotherapy practice who are unable to make changes in their life and do not understand why they keep sabotaging their efforts. Usually this is due to a hidden resistance or unwholesome belief associated with the desired change.
"The intention is to feel compassion toward yourself so there's less identification with the self that is disgusted with looking bad and more of an inhabiting of the awareness that is observing with kindness."
We're all ordinary, and meditation is no big deal. It is more of an undoing than a doing. It enables us to witness how our mind jumps from one drama to another, it dissolves mental clutter, frees us of habitual patterns, helps release stress, and feels wonderfully peaceful.
The areas that are exercised when we practice mindfulness have to do with what we call ''direct experience.'' When we're experiencing something directly, we're fully enveloped by whatever we're doing. We are not thinking about the past, the future, or even about ourselves.
Meditation is a mystery to many in the Western world. Sure, we've all heard of it, but most say they "don't have time" to slow down for it and others say they simply don't know how or they've tried it and couldn't do it "right."
If we genuinely want to end war, inequality, and abuse, then we need to end the war within ourselves and cultivate kindness toward all, equally. The enemy within ourselves can become our friend by transforming it into our ally.
Technology is here to stay. Why not embrace it and use it to raise our levels of presence? We can do this by tuning into our breath, our feelings and bodily sensations. This lets us know how we are relating to technology in the moment.
Meditation does not have to be difficult. We are changing the habit of constantly thinking. We are changing our pattern of carrying the details and challenges of daily life all the time within us. Meditation can teach us to let go of our busy mind and be in our heart.
Meditation doesn't have to be stuffy and/or elitist. We get to be who we are -- that's the whole (terrifying) point. We are so richly overflowing with treasure, each of us. Once we get up offa' our things and begin experiencing that, we begin reclaiming our treasure.
Taking a positive and proactive approach to our goals gives us the best chance of achieving lasting change. As we take on resolutions that will help us to become our best selves, we must treat ourselves with compassion, sensitivity, and respect.
In anticipation of holiday gatherings with family, frequently gift yourself with the mindful practice of sitting with the breath, appreciating the air, sipping seasonal drinks and really tasting each drop. Feast on feelings, honor each morsel of the moment.
Pausing is an introductory mindfulness practice, but it offers a feasible and practical technique with which to start. Over time, training attention and awareness enhance cognitive functioning and contribute to emotional balance.
Sitting silently, simply breathing, then becoming aware of what is arising in the mind and in the body. What thoughts and mind states are occurring? Are they wholesome or unwholesome? Edible or inedible?
Even though meditation is something that's in my wheelhouse, I've already begun to feel profound changes. The most immediate change is that I've started meditating twice a day -- something I've wanted to try for a while but have never gotten around to doing.