Here’s a question to determine whether meditation would benefit you: Do your thoughts run your life? Or do you have command over your thoughts? If thoughts run through your head with the power of a runaway locomotive, then you are allowing outside circumstances to dictate your mental well being. If you have no control over your inner landscape, then your outer landscape will mirror the chaotic nature of your thoughts. To take command of these thoughts, the only thing necessary is to discipline your mind and tame your inner companion. This requires training just like any other skill. It takes time and effort. This is the way of meditation. It is a process and a means of settling into that space that exists independent of our thoughts.
I am not an expert on meditation but I am an expert at knowing myself and I know that my mind used to rule the roost and cause me a lot of unnecessary pain. Each of us has a unique set of memories of experiences and interpretations of those experiences that we accumulate through the course of our lives, call it baggage. The problem with our baggage comes when we try to carry it all with us everywhere we go. It’s exhausting. What meditation has helped me with is recognizing which bags I don’t need anymore and leaving them behind. I like to travel light.
It boils down to this; when you have control over your thoughts and emotions, regardless of outside circumstances, you experience peace in your mind and your body releases chemicals of growth. Feelings of contentment, joy, happiness, and love produce high-frequency vibrations. These vibrations travel from the heart to the brain which then activates various systems in the body that promote health and well being. The opposite is also true. When was the last time you were angry, frustrated or annoyed? Emotions like those fall into the low-frequency category. They can wreak havoc on your body over long periods of time by releasing a cocktail of stress into your bloodstream. In this way, your heart and brain coordinate to give you exactly what you think and feel.
There are many, many types of meditation to explore but my favorite is a simple seated meditation that can be done anywhere. I sit cross-legged with my back straight and bring my focus to my breath first. As I consciously breathe, I begin bringing my attention inward to my body and I notice sensations within me. I ask my body to release any tension it is holding and I continue to bring my focus back to my breath if I notice my thoughts wandering. Once I’ve organized myself, I repeat a mantra over and over and concentrate on its meaning. My mantra is borrowed from Dr. Joe Dispenza in his book You are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter and it is simply: I am no one; I am no thing; in no time; I am pure consciousness. In the beginning days of my practice, it would take me a while to get to the point where my nagging thoughts subsided. As I continue practicing, I find it takes less and less time to reach what one of my favorite Tibetan monks calls an open, spacious mind. That place that is still, quiet, and peaceful resides in every one of us. It is only our mind chatter, with its expectations and preferences, that takes us from this place.
Because of my meditation practice, I have become more observant of my thoughts and emotions, more aware of my subconscious programming, and a much calmer, nicer person. The more I visit this place, the easier it is for me to find it when I feel frustrated, annoyed, or angry when something isn’t going my way. But don’t take my word on all this. You must begin your own inner exploration and experience that place within you that is your essence to find out what it’s all about. Take command of your thoughts!