Meditation these days is uber popular. All you have to do is look on social media to find someone paying recognition to the inward journey that saved their life. YouTube Gurus uploading most revered and often bizarre guided practices and even a sponsored ad for a local Instagram healer keen to share their enthusiasm, is all a daily occurrence.
There’s no doubt these days that meditation is worthwhile and will change your life for the better. I personally think it’s wonderful that people are broadcasting they’re successes on social media platforms in the era of fake news, global unrest and economic uncertainty. Enlightening others with your own experience is what we need. And remember, setting your own intention with online friends and helping others will also reaffirm your own journey.
We all need a little enlightening!
Meditation changes the grey matter in our brain and can help make profound changes in our psyche, behaviour and personality.
More simply put, when we formally practice meditation we can feel easily centered, connected with ourselves as well as more connected to others. Our fractured lives becoming less disjointed, and unmanageability becoming more manageable.
Everyone I’ve known who begins their journey with meditation has all shared a similar want. A desire to seek an alternative path, a deep longing for an elusive something – a new way to live.
All the positive talk around meditation, the intergalactic degree of opinion, and the diversity with how to “do it”, can be somewhat confusing at best!
It’s common for someone who meditates regularly to return to a place of over thinking, over analysis, being stuffy with emotions and full of doubt. All while meditating frequently.
Krishna Das referred to this as “Sunken!”
All of us have done it at some point. The chatter and fantasy with attempting to follow thoughts or emotions, figuring out the how, what and why of nothing, and scrutinizing the most insignificant feeling is at times so damn attractive – even stimulating.
This isn’t meditation.
With over thinking being so common, even when attempting to do the opposite – what do you do if you experience being “sunken” while meditating.
Take a few deep breaths if you’re thinking way too much. You’re still going to be thinking but now your attention is on the breath with thinking floating in the background. Resting your awareness with the sole focus upon every inhale and exhalation is by far the best tool to cut out the sweet temptation to sit dissecting brain chatter.
Open your eyes
There’s no gold medal for sitting with your eyes shut. Sitting with eyes shut for the duration can be beneficial for developing commitment, overcoming inner demons and blocking out external distractions. And quite often people don’t sit long enough because it isn’t easy.
I often start my meditation with eyes open then close them when I’m feeling comfortably relaxed enough to do so. Also if you find yourself falling asleep when lying down, blink open the eyes and re-close them.
Use a Mantra
Negativity can be very attractive, especially when you’re bored. Personally, I’m not a fan of “Om mane padme hum” to keep my attention, however, practising a mantra can be especially brilliant at raising your vibration from self-pitying moods. Mantra chanting is something I often use in my Yoga class. Find some Hindi chants that Gees your spirit and sing them loudly, so loudly you can’t hear yourself think. If you don’t like Hindi simply hum your own tune- joyously.
Again, sitting still can be triggering for a lot of people. They think they’re being told off, a punishment akin to an adult time-out. At the same time being told to relax and feel the sensations that are arising isn’t going to help solve any issues, it’s going to compound the misery further. So move about, wiggle your fingers even write the to-do list that’s been nagging at you. Try to adhere to your search for peacefulness by keeping distractions at a minimum, no mobile phones or other tech devices. Be kind to yourself and return to rest when you’re better equipped. Think wholesome discipline rather than a grilling.
Everyone wants to learn how to quiet the mind and rightly so. Controlling thoughts, however, is unhelpful and will lead you to feel fatigued and frustrated. One of the most effective ways to meditate is to think consciously. Being aware to the awakening of experience in every moment, you’ll actually find the more aware you become, witnessing the true nature of your psyche. This paradigm will lead you to think less with little resistance for wanting to do so. Controlling thoughts is a whole different level of personal war that you don’t want to attempt, remember- easy does it.