The first thing that happens when you wake up in the morning is the activation of your monkey mind. It’s “ON”!
Your mind and thoughts are immediately in analysis mode. You are probably not even aware of this. You think you still need to wake up, but your mind isn’t.
It is already thinking what you want or what you don’t want. What you need to do a few seconds, minutes, hours or even a few days from now. If it is not thinking ahead, it’s thinking about yesterday or further down the past. You’re mind is scanning to see if everything is okay to your standards.
And this cycle repeats itself for the rest of the day whenever you’re not fully focused on some activity.
These thoughts are keeping your mind occupied whether you want it or not. It can make you feel happy or unhappy. And most of the time you are not AWARE. You are surrendered to your thoughts. Your mind is pulling you into any direction and state of emotion it feels like.
Fortunately there is a way out of this. It is the practice of becoming aware of your thoughts. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be aware of your thoughts 24/7. But the moment you feel down, unpleasant, or depressed that should be the WARNING SIGN that you have to become AWARE.
Now you can take a step back and observe your thoughts. Realize that these are just thoughts. They are not reality. If you are aware of the fact that you are not your thoughts, you can just let go of them. Let go of the movies and pictures from your past that are stored in your mind. They are not real anymore, they are just mental snapshots played repeatedly in your inner theater.
And if your mind isn’t looking back into the past it is trying to predict the future which it simply cannot do. (She’s probably thinking that I…, I think he doesn’t…, they probably going to…..). Whatever your mind is thinking, your body is already feeling it, no matter if is real or not.
So let go of all of it and just focus on what is in front of you. The present moment.
This is where it all comes down to, “Let go and focus on what is in front of you”. In order to do this you need practice and the practice is meditation.
While there are many types of meditation, I’m currently using two types of meditation. Breathing meditation and Affirmation meditation. Let’s show you how to do this.
Sit down on the ground in a crosslegged posture or sit down on a chair with your feet resting flat on the floor. Whatever feels comfortable. Relax and make sure you keep your back straight so you don’t feel sleepy. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Breathe through the nostrils and follow your breath moving in and out, without trying to control it.
Pretty soon your mind will start wandering and will be caught up in a thought. The moment you discover (become aware) you are following that thought, let it go, and get your attention back to your breathing. Again, breathe in through the nostrils and follow your breath.
A second thought will arise and you will wander away. As soon as you are aware of this, get your attention back and focus on the breathing. You repeat this cycle over and over again.
If you meditate daily, if only for five minutes, you will notice that soon you are able to focus your attention longer on the breath and it will take longer for you to be caught up in a thought (See the benefits below).
Remember that meditation practice is not a competition, nor is there a good or bad meditation session. It just is what it is. Practice it and embrace it.
Affirmation meditation can help you to become less anxious, more relaxed, calm and present among other things. Sit down in a comfortable position with your back straight. Close your eyes and focus on one or two of the affirmations below during your meditation.
– I feel calm and relaxed
– I will be calm and relaxed throughout the day
– I am mild, gentle and cool
– I am the observer of my thoughts
– I won’t be a hostage of my ego or thoughts
– I will let go of any negative thoughts
– I am not my thoughts
– I will replace negative thoughts for positive ones
– I will be focused on the present moment
– I feel healthy and energised
– I feel light and breezy
– I feel at peace with all my surroundings
– I am okay with whatever is in front of me
– I am kind, loving and compassionate
– I will seek to understand before trying to be understood
If you start out meditating for the first time, start with 5 minutes a day for two weeks to build the habit. Then practice 10 minutes a day for the next two weeks. If you managed to meditate 10 minutes everyday for two weeks in a row try 15 or 20 minutes of meditation for the next four weeks. If you haven’t been able to meditate daily, stick with 10 minutes. That’s fine. Again it’s not a competition.
Increase your meditation time with time. Don’t rush into it and try to meditate for 30 minutes right off the bat or your habit won’t last. The importance of building the meditation habit is more important than the amount of time meditating. Try a meditation app.
You will notice the rewards of meditation practice soon. You will become faster aware whenever you get caught up in a negative thought and you will no longer be a prisoner of that thought. You can step back, let it go and stop being controlled and fooled by your inner theater.
You will also strengthen your attention and concentration. You will have a greater and longer focus on any activity throughout the day. You will detect when your mind starts to wander and bring it back easily.
And last but not least, you will learn that meditation is a great tool to calm the mind, gain insights, stimulate compassion and find your true self.
Practice it, enjoy it and reap the benefits.