"Love Letter" Blog
What is meditation? What does it do? Why can’t I do it? Why is it such a struggle?
These are common question that arise when the topic of meditation comes up. So I thought I would use the Love Letter as the way for you to access an answer to these common and frequently asked questions. These are the simple answers.
Meditation is the practice of shifting one’s attention. During meditation we shift our attention from the continual series of random thoughts that arise, and instead focus awareness on a specific involuntary activity that occurs each moment; that activity is our breathing. In doing so we train our minds not to follow the random and often meaningless thoughts that keep popping up, and rather focus on one innocuous, neutral and natural activity - breathing. During a routine day the mind is drawn to thoughts about both the past and future, so the mind is afforded little dedication to just being in the moment. During meditation, as the mind jumps from one thought to another, we disrupt the continuum. In doing so, we make ourselves aware of how the mind continually operates in an unchecked fashion, continually doing what it has done, what it has been trained to do. During meditation we consciously shift the mind’s attention away from raising one thought after the next. We do so by redirecting our attention and instead of following the thoughts we notice the breath.
Meditation causes the meditating person to release his or her consciousness from the uneasiness that often invades and takes over the mind. The active ego-centered mind has been equated to a wild monkey that leaps from one tree branch to another. The monkey-like mind is caught up in much the same activity; leaping from one topic to the next.
Often these thoughts bring with them a myriad of distressful and unwanted feelings. Meditation is the practice of quelling arising thoughts and releasing undesirable emotions and feelings.
During meditation we allow any thought to come forth, then simply shift our attention by noticing our breathing. We do this over again, never grappling, nor being determined to trade one thought for the other. We avoid any tendency to struggle or wrestle with arising thoughts. Any and all thoughts are welcome. The thoughts are simply observed then released. If the thought returns, again it is set free.
Many people struggle with meditation because they believe it to be a time engaged in silent war, where the focus is on ridding one’s self of all thought. So, naturally in
such a case, the time used for meditating seems long and enduring. It is like being in the midst of a losing battle. The meditation becomes a long drawn out boring exercise in which expectations are never realized, nor is the desired outcome achieved. So what do these people do? They quit. In doing so they lose out on the peacefulness and true self-awareness that meditation offers. People experience self-defeating feelings because they do not know what meditation is intended to do for them. Nor do they really know how to meditate.
To enhance the calmness of our minds, in Happy Beings meditation sessions we involve ourselves in the interchange of both silent meditation and guided meditation. During the guided meditation, the meditation guide speaks and the group focuses on the message that is being communicated. Specific messages are rooted in visualization exercises; which assist in helping the meditating group to relax and be rid of the continual stream of thoughts that would otherwise run ramped.
Over time the practice of meditation brings clear thinking to the mind. By continually shifting our attention during the mediation sitting, we teach ourselves to intervene on the “monkey” thinking process, and begin to see our lives from a more objective and practical perspective. We learn to elevate our level of self-love and to discover the Real Self, the One that previously has been dimmed by an overindulgence in “monkey” thinking. Love to all of you. Don
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