When you’re beginning to practice meditation, often the biggest roadblock is “emptying” the mind. It is common to quit meditating all together, because no matter how hard you try, it seems impossible to stop random thoughts from popping into your head.
Often what happens is that someone will attempt to silence their thoughts, random thoughts come, and then that person will start to judge themselves for not being able to meditate “correctly.” Then, instead of freedom from attachment, they are fully attached to thoughts of “I just can’t do it!”
There is a cycle that happens here that we must find a way to break!
How do we break that cycle?
Instead of focusing on whether or not you’re “doing it right” shift your attention to your breath. The rhythmic pattern of inhaling and exhaling has an effect on your mind similar to the effect a lullaby might have on a fussy infant. We are simply calming everything down: our bodies, our thoughts, our worries, etc.
Scientists are now just beginning to understand some of the marvelous benefits of breath control. According to The New York Times:
“Studies have found…that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder.”
The “Just Breathe” Method
This 5 Minute Meditation Method allows us to practice using our breath to still our minds.
Step By Step Instructions
- Find a quiet place
- Pick an object in the room
- Imagine a connected tube supplying oxygen, and inhale deeply
- Pause at the end of your inhale
- Let out the breath and send the air back through the imaginary tube toward the object
- Repeat until you feel like you’re in a rhythm
- Close your eyes and repeat the same breath pattern until you feel calm and relaxed
- Pretending that air is flowing through a tube allows you to blend the use of your imagination with the reality of the physical object in the room.
- Your breath becomes the connection between the two realms of imagination and reality.
- Imagination is what fuels or creative processes. When we need inspiration we can draw upon our creative mind.
- Focusing on the physical object “grounds” us in the natural world or “reality.”
- The flow from imagination to physical reality can provide inspiration when we need a creative boost.
- The flow from physical reality to our imagination can help us make peace with an obstacle or issue we face.
What appears, on the surface, as a simple exercise actually has deeper implications.
Mastering the “gap” between “what is” (or our reality) and “what can be” (or our imagination) allows us to participate in the natural flow of consciousness.
Too often we wait for things to happen and then merely have a reaction. A life of spiritual practice, even a simple one like the meditation method mentioned in this post, allows us to break the habit of reaction and live purposely.
Learning how to harness and direct our thoughts cleans up all the mental junk we accumulate and allows us to create more, love more and envision a better existence for ourselves and our world.
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When you’re beginning to practice meditation, often the biggest roadblock is “emptying” the mind. It is common to quit meditating all together, because no matter how hard you try, it seems impossible to stop random thoughts from popping into your head. Often what happens is that someone will attempt to silence their thoughts, random thoughts …