Where is your mind now?
Yes, that question I sometimes ask my mass cut pro students in some guided meditation. They then ask me if I read their thoughts, because at that moment they were already wandering somewhere far away …
I do not read the mind, but I know something of its functioning.
We all have minds and we all go through, we leave, we get lost in thoughts that sometimes appear without giving us any account and in them we spend time, a lot of time.
It happens in full meditation and that seems an obstacle. In fact, even if you think that is bad, it is not. It is not an obstacle, you just have to realize it and return to your breathing or to whatever the object of attention you are following. Realizing at every moment that you get distracted and return to the present moment reinforces the “muscle” of attention and with it you are already doing an exercise in mindfulness.
I could extend many more in relation to those thoughts that appear in full meditation, but in a summarized way I will tell you that they can contribute and help a lot. Sometimes the thoughts that arise bring a message, either because of something that worries you, because of something you want to plan, or something deeper that you carry in your “shadow”.
When you sit down to meditate you are doing a real work of recognition and encounter with your essential being.
For those who have not, it is difficult to understand. You think that you just have to sit down, breathe, take care of the instructions and relax. Then already within the very act of the sitting appears the concern for the lack of habit to maintain a position, and also arise thoughts about not finding the sense to devote that time to what seems to be doing nothing.
Again I ask you, where is your mind now? I do it to remind you that we are still here and that you do not turn aside your attention from this reading. Surely it is not easy right?
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I find that many of my students are reluctant to establish a daily meditation routine. It seems that there is no time and place to do the practice and although the rhythm of life and the personal situation of each one can make it difficult, I think that when we look for a moment for it, we can all.
As in everything that represents to create a habit, the difficult is the beginning. At that moment the balance is unbalanced against habit. There is a lot of effort and little benefit, but when the perseverance is maintained we observe with pleasant surprise that the balance is tilted just to the opposite side; that is, little effort and much benefit.
The key is to be constant, be patient and have faith in the benefits we can achieve. That is when we can see and learn more every day about our mind and about ourselves. It is then when we move from being part of the thoughts to being observers of them and realizing that we have the capacity to respond to them in an equitable way.
This means that instead of letting ourselves be drawn into a sometimes painful place moved by negative emotions such as anger, hatred or resentment, we can respond in time and choose a way that brings us more inner peace. These emotional reactions tend to be directed against others and that creates interpersonal conflicts.
Sometimes others are not harmed by these automatic reactive patterns. It is us, because that thought draws us towards concern, towards the pain of the attachment we feel for lack of acceptance, or to the stress of feeling that “there is much to be done”.
Do you think little benefit now?
For something the practice of meditation or formal practice as we call it in mindfulness is currently recognized as a natural and alternative therapeutic solution to other more invasive treatments. A recognized millenary practice that in these current times needed to be confirmed by scientific studies.
Meditation also changes the structure of your brain. Something also confirmed by scientific studies. This is neuroscience and we talk about what is called “brain neuroplasticity”, that is, that your brain can change for good in this case, since with this practice active areas of the brain that are restructured towards a better resolution of conflicts, and towards a more calm way of responding to situations of daily life.
This is one of the bases on which the practice of mindfulness or mindfulness is based. The other is what we call informal practice and it is the attention to what happens in every moment of our life while we are awake.
For this purpose, in the workshops and courses we offer, we provide a series of exercises to train that ability to have the mind and attention to what happens at each moment.