Illustration by By Benjavisa Ruangvaree
The one thing that is with us every moment we are alive is our Mind. Whether it is conscious or unconscious we have thoughts and programs always running while we are awake and while we are sleeping. We are aware of some and unaware of most of those thoughts, though we do have the ability to watch how we are thinking.
Everyone is responsible for their own meditative experience. This includes engaging thoughts and suggestions during meditation as well as when we are making our coffee, reading a book, what we do when we get up in the morning, how we go about our days, how we go to sleep. In other words, every microsecond of every day, each of us is choosing what we shine our attention on.
What we are choosing to focus upon, affects our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.
Imagine for a minute that you are holding a big yellow tart lemon, You put it on a cutting board and cut it into wedges being careful not to get the juice on your paper cut, and then you take that juicy lemon and imagine putting that super tart lemon into your mouth, bite down and taste the explosion of sour as it fills your mouth. Causing your whole mouth to pucker.
If you did that you most likely have real proof that your body reacts to thoughts and words not just mentally. In the example above it physically creates saliva, the muscles in your face scrunch and your body behaves as if it has just sucked on a lemon. What happens when you think about the news? What happens if you are yelling at yourself or someone else in your head? What happens if you think about being calm and relaxed? What happens if you imagine being at ease in the most beautiful place you have ever seen?
This happens all of the time without us realizing it. Much of it is on the unconscious level. Meditation is a way of watching the thoughts in our Mind and learning not to grasp at them while also learning to bring our attention to the object of our meditation. Many of our thoughts are habitual or inspired by fear or grasping at something we want. In other words, we are complicit in what we shine the light of our attention upon. Which is also very hopeful because we can change how we perceive the world.
For many of us, how our thoughts behave as if we are being pulled along by a rollercoaster that has already left the station. We try and control our minds with all sorts of negative thoughts. This affects our breathing, our relaxation, our concentration, if we experience joy, or if we experience uneasiness.
If we get up in the morning and look at some dreadful news or another and feel crappy about it, guess what? We did it to ourselves. We all make choices about how we focus our attention. It isn’t that some things shouldn’t make us feel crappy, it is the fact that we chose to focus at that particular moment on something that made us feel crappy. To change things sometimes you need to feel crappy so it inspires a change, however, you can also choose to focus your attention on something that takes care of you and makes your whole body feel relaxed and calm.
So, do yourself a favor, introduce yourself to your own mind, become good friends with it. Engage in meditation so that you can focus your attention on something that will put you Body/Mind at ease, engage your own equilibrium, to feel relaxed, be at ease, feel balanced, feel poised because guess what? You are in charge of your own meditative experience, if you choose to look and engage in hours and hours of thoughts that make you feel horrible, you did it! If you choose to engage thoughts that encourage relaxation, and peacefulness within you that was your choice as well. The key is taking the time to sit down in a quiet room, and learn about yourself from yourself. Bringing as much kindness , patience and love to yourself as you can.
Blog posts to get you started: