1.Meditation is about stopping thoughts, feelings and memories from coming into your mind
Recent studies have shown that trying to stop, block or push away thoughts, feelings or memories only works temporarily if at all, they often return with extra power and velocity soon after.
Meditation is about noticing that these thoughts feelings or sensations are there but choosing to focus your attention on one or more aspects of the present moment instead.
Examples of these aspects could be sounds, your breathing or sensations in your body. It is the continual task of re-focusing your attention on these aspects of the present moment that allow these uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and memories to dissipate, naturally in their own time.
This can be very difficult initially, however, meditation is a moment by moment experience, even life long mediators have thoughts, feelings and memories that try to distract them.
The difference between a Zen master and a beginner meditator is that the Zen master notices these thoughts, feelings and memories a lot quicker and refocuses on the present moment with minimal fuss or struggle.
2. Meditation might bring up memories or thoughts you don’t really want to think about or feel
Meditation is an observing process not a thinking process. Whilst thoughts often arise including thoughts with visual content like memories the aim is to notice you have gone into thinking and re-focus on observing.
So if memories or thoughts come up, whether they are positive or negative, the first step is to notice that your thinking then re-focus on observing and watch these unhelpful thoughts drift away as you focus on what else is going on in that moment.
3. Meditation is only for people who are stressed or anxious
Mediation is great for distancing oneself from feelings of stress or anxiety however this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Learning and practicing meditation will allow you to be aware of what you are thinking, feeling and doing at any given moment. You will begin to notice conditioned thought and behaviour patterns that stop you from being your best possible self. You will notice when you are triggered by something someone else says or does, which could begin the much needed introspection required to build emotional resilience.
Other benefits include:
- Improving your concentration and focus whilst decreasing procrastination
- Lifting your energy and vitality for life
- Improving your ability to listen and communicate when connecting with friends, family and other humans
- Improved ability to cope with life’s adversities
4. You need to meditate for long periods of time, everyday, to get the benefits
When first learning to meditate you may find it difficult to sit and focus for long periods of time. It’s important to set realistic and achievable goals and always use a stopwatch or timer.
Begin with three minutes a day for a week. If this is easy to achieve then you can slowly add extra time or do twice per day. If this is difficult then try three minutes, three times a week and you can increase it from there.
Mindfulness is a moment by moment experience. Within a three minute meditation you will likely have seconds of complete oneness with the present moment and many seconds of refocusing your mind once you catch it wandering. There’s no need to be frustrated when you catch your mind wandering. Every time you refocus your attention you rewire your brain for resilience and emotional awareness.
Jakob is running a two part workshop to teach the basics of mindfulness mediation at the brand new Plant Room in Manly NSW. For more details or to book yourself a place click the link below.
Tickets are $69 + booking fee
Jakob Casella is a Sydney life coach & therapist who uses mindfulness based approaches to help clients improve and enrich their lives. Coaching can be organised in your home or office, face to face or via Skype, For more information click here