On a Thursday I run a meditation group. I’ve had many years of benefiting from this form of exercise for the mind. Yet it’s something I struggled to do for a long time.
For years I went to all types of meditation classes. I read about how to achieve an altered state of mind. I followed all sorts of suggestions about how to do it. Sitting still didn’t work. Lying down sent me to sleep. I composed my shopping lists. The music grated on my ears. I was aware of the other people all around me. My body threw aches and pains at me way beyond simple pins and needles. I was uncomfortable in silence. It seemed no matter what I tried the stillness of mind escaped me. Eventually I decided that my mind mustn’t have an off switch after all.
During my training as a counsellor I tried hypnosis. What I mean is I learned to hypnotise someone else. My mind didn’t like letting go so I was a very poor subject for hypnosis. Realising my mind was still overactive a lot of the time I decided I really had to get a grip of meditation. Back I went to groups, classes, books and spiritual philosophies. My mind seemed to laugh at me. Settle down and be silent? Not a chance. Switch off all thought and ‘be’? Never. I felt like I was going round in circles. However, as I was on the point of quitting I discovered a technique I hadn’t tried before. I read about focussed meditation.
It seemed I had only been looking at one set of techniques that were about stilling the mind through emptying it. Focused meditation was based on engaging the conscious mind so the rest of my mind could step forward.
As I tried the focus technique I discovered that I could drift into a quiet, calm space. I could also disappear into a different dialogue with myself. One not based on thoughts but on sensory information. I could let the ‘visions’ emerge so that I could notice them. I really took to this way of meditating. Time slowed. My thoughts drifted through and then away. I felt peaceful yet energised. My stress levels dropped. I found my creative inspirations increased. It seems that every time I spent time within myself I came back with options, solutions and a contented feeling.
Now I really enjoy drifting away from the world. I try to give myself meditation space at least once a day. I use my focus technique to help me calm down before sleep. And I use it to clear stuck energy that I may be holding onto. In fact, there are so many ways to use this way of tuning in that I recommend it to everyone who wants to connect with their intuitive ability. Emotions and thoughts become clearer, less frantic and flow better. So what do I do? First I Find little time in my day. Going to a quiet(ish) place I sit in a comfy chair. Then I let my body relax. Closing my eyes I pay attention to my feet being on the floor. I feel the floor with my feet and imagine they are sinking in ever so slightly.
The next step is the real switch to meditation. It’s time for me to let myself wander off for a while.
Then I start to pay attention to my breathing. I feel the breath in, my lungs filling and lifting, then the breath out, my lungs dropping back. Keeping my attention on the breath in and the breath out I let my thoughts dwindle down until all I am aware of is my breathing. At this point the conscious mind has become focused on a task. My brain likes to focus in this way. That’s why when I am painting, or walking, or reading time ceases to exist. When my ego mind is occupied my creative mind can get some of my attention. Sometimes I see colours or feel changes in temperature. There are times when I am floating or flying. Or I become so relaxed that afterwards I wonder if I actually went to sleep.
Best if all, my everyday thoughts disappear. I have stopped bouncing around in my own head. This is a space of peacefulness filled with a timeless positivity. Actually, one of the hardest things now is to come back. To resume all of that thinking, thinking, thinking is hard work. I try my best to keep my little oasis of calm with me for as long as possible. That becomes my focus and I know I have shifted my day into a much pleasanter energy experience. Next time it all gets too much for you please try focused meditation. You might be surprised at how calm you can become without anyone realising what you are doing ?
Day 361 of my blogging challenge.