have been meditating seriously for about 3 months now. Once per day, I find a quiet spot and focus my attention for 20 minutes on my breath using a guided mindful meditation app called Headspace. I have tried to mediate in the past with mixed success, but intuitively I feel the time is right for me now to practice a little harder.
I have always suffered anxiety and depression and for a few years I was actually taking medication for it; the medication also suppressed the need to smoke cigarettes which I was in the bad habit of doing. The medication helped but didn’t solve my anxiety or my smoking. It took a stroke to wake me up, but that is a different story for a different time.
The thought (mind the pun) is that thoughts trigger anxiety and depression when the mind is constantly worrying about the past or the future. In today’s society, there is not much to be scared about in the present moment. This is unlike other animals that find themselves on the wrong end of the food chain and have to maintain constant vigilance. As a human, we really don’t have to worry about imminent physical danger, so I guess the mind has time to reflect about the past and speculate about the future which DOES create stress, frustration, anxiety, fear, and a host of other harmful and destructive emotions.
It is thought that “Mindful Meditation” helps one understand this pattern of constant mind chatter, worry and frustration and allows one to develop skills in living in the moment and not in the past or the future. If you are interested we will have a certified Mindful Mediation teacher talking about being present during one of our Over the Barrel presentations. Scratch it into your calendar and attend, it will be enlightening (sorry, did it again).
Anyway, during my practice, I have learned a whole lot about myself and my mind and am being to understand the chaos that ensues within my cranium. The practice is simple, sit quietly and gently focus your attention on your breath. As thoughts manifest, acknowledge them and let them pass without judgment. Rinse and repeat.
This is what I have learned so far.
There is a mind that controls my breathing that I don’t understand, it just happens and will continue to happen till my last breath (instinct).
There is a mind that can watch my breath though gets distracted (ego).
There is a mind that can watch the previous mind become distracted and regain focus (mediation).
Then there is the mind that watches that mind which often worries if the previous mind is doing a good job of not becoming distracted or not (still judging).
Then there is a mind who gets frustrated that the previous mind is stressed about all of the previous minds.
No wonder people are constantly stressed. Some people think they are going out of the mind, but I want to and can’t seem to get there. I do know, that having a glass of wine and a good conversation helps though.