Over the last five days I have been making sure I meditate three times per day, and frequently update all of you on any insights I have about the process. Today I will focus on one particular aspect of meditation. I want to chat about the amount that my mind wants to talk to me when I don’t care to hear from it. Even though ACTUALLY hearing what these thoughts have to tell is immensely important.
So, what in the hell is a thought? They are tricky little buggers, that’s for sure! Thoughts can be excruciatingly annoying at times as well, kind of like a fly that keeps landing on my face when I am trying to sleep. I swat at the fly as I wake up momentarily, then it comes right back. I don’t know what they are, but I do know they exist. I know they exist in some form because they never seem to shut up! They are constantly reminding me of their existence, almost as if they are scared they will die if I don’t attend to them. They are way too needy and require far too much of my attention!
I am not saying that I want thoughts to entirely go away. I love thinking. I have Bachelors degrees in Philosophy and Psychology. I love hypothesizing and testing theories. But I also love having a break from my thoughts because after a while my thinking tends to become compulsive. What I mean by compulsive is that they get out of my control and sort of take on a life of their own. Then I am left to wonder how in the hell I can stop thinking this thought. Maybe even getting mad at myself for thinking a certain thought, as if I had much control over what thought arrives next anyway.
In Sitting meditation, I find that these thoughts are put on stage for me. I am not doing anything or going anywhere. I am simply sitting. When in that spot I have made a commitment to sit and there is nowhere to run. Honestly, I think we as a species spend far too much effort running away from what we are thinking. On the same note, we as a species spend far too much effort running away from what we are feeling. The relationship between thoughts and feelings is a highly intimate one!
The more emotionally raw I feel the louder my thinking becomes and the easier it is to lose control over the process of thinking. As I have said in my About Me section, I spent quite a lot of time experimenting with life in dangerous ways. The memories and emotions from my past come up at unexpected times and the thoughts that come with them can become very loud and not so friendly.
Meditating is easy for me when I am feeling good. But it is even more necessary to Meditate when I am feeling in rough shape. That’s when the real rubber meets the road. And those are the times when meditating is most difficult. I have come to realize that those not so friendly thoughts need attention because my emotions need attention. They need healing! The thoughts need to be seen and not judged or acted upon. Then I can feel the sticky emotion and hopefully let go of it.
I am writing about this subject for today because I believe many of us are way to hard on ourselves for what we are thinking, I know I can be. For my next article I will come up with a practical list for how to look at all these kinds of thoughts to let them go! So, stop back in on Saturday to see what that list looks like!