Meditation Practice Key 1

 

What are you thinking about?

 

Some people are overwhelmed when trying to start a meditation practice.  They think it’s too long, too intense, or they don’t think they can focus.  Here’s a jumping off point to get you started.  It’s simple.  Just ask yourself “what am I thinking about?”  In this way, you can start to focus more often on your own thoughts and identify what you may be doing to block your own progress.

 

When I decided I needed to begin a practice of meditation it was because I realized I wasn't in control of my own thoughts, and that didn't sit well with me. It was very common for me to start thinking about something that lead to worry, and the worry lead to dread, and the dread started a reaction in my body. My throat felt tight and my stomach and head hurt. My breathing felt restricted and soon I was in a full panic, all because of a troubling thought. And when I didn't want to think them anymore, I had no idea how to stop-- it wasn't nearly as easy as it was to begin. These thoughts just came to my mind nonstop, usually several at once. I had trained my mind for years to multitask and hold on to useless things. I had painful memories, grocery lists, silly jingles, heavy realizations, and mixed up emotions all fighting for space in my conscious mind. This mindset was keeping my vibrations so low, it's no wonder I felt stuck.

 

The more I analyzed thoughts, the more I realized the people around me were very judgmental and negative in the thoughts they expressed, even in jest. This helped me begin to notice my own thoughts more frequently, realizing they were pretty negative, too.

 

I started with asking myself "what am I thinking about?" My first obstacle was not getting upset with myself when I caught myself lost in negative thoughts. To this day, I still catch myself sometimes, but it's far less often. And the things I find myself thinking aren't nearly as awful. So I'm proud of my progress. I suggest everyone who has a desire to get in control of their mind start there.

 

"What am I thinking about?"

 

Just make a point to note the answer throughout the day. Some of my most popular ones were lists, "what if" scenarios, harsh judgments of myself and things other people had said to me.

 

I stuck to this exercise long enough to make it a habit. I just take a deep breath and ask myself, what was I thinking about a few seconds ago? This is what worked for me long before I was able to sit in stillness for 20 minutes at a time.

 

Try it, and tell me how it goes for you.