One of the pleasures in teaching people how to meditate is hearing the results. Here are some examples:
-I’m sleeping so much better
-I’m in a better mood, no I’m just happier
-My anxiety has decreased
-I didn’t believe you when you said it would be a potential game changer for me, but it has truly changed my life!
And here’s one of the best things I periodically hear from clients — in one form or another:
-I’ve started to realize there’s this constant conversation going on in my head. Maybe I’ve heard it from time to time, but meditating makes me aware that this goes on constantly. Much of the time it’s negative, it’s exaggerations, it’s self criticism, it’s thought distortions…so if that has really been a “constant” I just didn’t realize it. Now I do and I can stop it.
So what does that really mean? Can we really stop thoughts? Not really stop them. We can hear them, see them, challenge them. And for brief periods we can clear and quiet them. Here’s a visual image of the meditation process. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know this one.
Visualize yourself in the back of a paneled truck with no windows. You are sitting in a corner of the truck and there are 25 chickens WITH you, flying around, bouncing off the walls, ceiling, floor, clucking loudly. Ouch! Your task in meditation, is to get your chickens to sit down and be quiet. You CAN do that. The reality is they will quickly begin to move and fly around again! So they fly and cluck, then they sit quietly, then they move, then they sit! That’s a bit like our thought processes. Meditation quiets the swirling thoughts long enough for you to HEAR them. To understand the on-going commentary that influences what you think and feel and do — and keeps you from relaxing and focusing.
So the comment from the client means he’s “catching” the thinking — listening — seeing the impact of the thoughts — able to correct those negative thoughts — AFTER meditation — that make him get off course, feel bad in general.
If you have a radio or TV playing in the background of your car/house on LOW volume, it’s still using electricity and it’s just loud enough to distract you, to impact or influence your thinking. Meditation turns the volume UP so you hear what’s going on in your mind. The point is NOT to focus on your thoughts — just to note them — to see if there is something you need to focus on when you end your meditation time….meditation is about getting quiet — and being mindful to the extent that you CARRY that mindfulness into your daily life and activity. You will hear more of your own thoughts rumbling around in the back of your mind…and you will gratefully be able to listen in a more attentive way (MINDFULLY) to those you interact with…
It’s just that meditation does have many benefits! Try it…well, that’s certainly not the first time you’ve heard me say that!