Being alone with only your thoughts doesn't always sound so appealing. We are victims to our own emotions and shortcomings, and because of this we generally fear some of the thoughts that come from our own heads. Thoughts of defeat, negativity, and pity. Obviously we don't all suffer from this constantly, but we do suffer from these thoughts from time to time, and when they come it can be hard to let them go.
Letting go of our thoughts seems so trivial, but in reality can be extremely difficult. When we encounter these threatening thoughts and feel cornered by them, there is a place that we should go before anywhere else. Our mind.
Meditation is an ancient practice for a reason. Before the time of distraction there were few outlets where one could truly escape. The one place that was private and free, was the mind. The mind allows you to escape the world around you. The more you can distance yourself momentarily from reality, the more you can remove yourself from the issues that are weighing you down. Create a space for yourself. A mental space where you can be comfortable, motivated, and alert, can be the key to getting through all of the issues that you encounter throughout the day or week.
Taking anywhere between 5-30 minutes to sit quietly and think is all that meditation really is. The hard part is sitting still for that entire time, that is why it can be beneficial to start between 1-5 minutes until you become more comfortable. The key is to let nothing distract you, allowing your thoughts to flow freely through your mind. It sounds simple, but in practice can be extremely tedious. The time it takes to sit and meditate is usually a fraction of the time that we sit and stew over thoughts that we probably shouldn't be taking seriously. We spend hours, even days holding on to a thought that, for whatever reason, continues to viciously affect us throughout our day. Rather than allow these thoughts to bring us down, we have to work through them so that we can truly learn to let it go.
5-30 minutes a day, to sit, relax, and enter your mind, can be all it takes to help take things from dismay to clarity. Meditation is a way to purge the thoughts you have been collecting by going through them one by one and simply letting them go. If we hold on to things for too long, like a ripe fruit that sits for too long, it can fester and turn into something that originally it was not. Through meditation these thoughts can be processed and released. Taking time out of your day to sit and think seems trivial and unimportant, but by just taking the time to sit, you are already on the right path. At the end of the day we feel tired and want to relax. Not much is pushing us to take more time to work on ourselves. Today we are expected to put our time into work, and not much else. Whatever you do on your own time to make you happy is your business and you can do what you want. This is the mentality that most of us hold, but are mistaken in how we should be approaching it. The time we take out of work, away from our duties and obligations to others, is of the utmost importance. In order to come to work, or spend time with family, and operate at peak performance, we have to take care of ourselves. That of course means eating right, sleeping well, and exercising consistently, but we also have to make sure our mind is in a good state. It is easy to get out of balance mentally and feel that we have no time to relax, or time for ourselves. This is a danger to our happiness and how we are with others.
It only seems right that we take a small sliver of the 24 hour day to maintain ourselves mentally. We should make it a priority to ourselves to take this time out of the day, so that we can be aware of our thinking, and emotional state.
Today there are few places to truly escape. With all of the distractions that we face, and the misinformation we are witness to, it seems impossible to get away. Just be alone, truly alone for once. It seems that now, we try to surround ourselves with as much stimuli as possible. For example, social events, friends, social media, and the internet, is how we generally distract ourselves from really feeling our emotions. As we start to spend more and more of our time on things that are not meaningful, we suffer for it. Things begin to become unclear. Thoughts of negativity creep into your mind. How can we displace the negativity, and clarify things into simple positive thoughts?
Meditation is not only for working through problems. Meditation is also for creating clarity where it is hard to find. We aren't always faced with adverse situations, sometimes we are just looking to get another perspective on something. Taking the time to sit and think is vital to allowing your mind to see the bigger picture.
When going through a tough time in our lives, our days and decisions can feel muddled, and unclear. We aren't sure if what we are doing is what we should be doing. When these feeling arise, we should recognize this as a red flag. This is your mind telling you that it needs clarity. Over what, you may not be sure, but the important part is that you listen to the signals your mind is showing you, and take them seriously. It is almost the equivalent of having the engine light come on in your car. You wouldn't ignore that light that is telling you there is a problem with the most important part of your car. So like you would with your car, you take in your mind for some work. You run a diagnostics check and see what the problem is. It should be pretty clear what is causing the problem, and if it isn't than you should take even more initiative to meditate and figure out what is going on.
Take each thought that is giving you trouble and go through it. Run through the thought, like dragging your hand along a string. Follow the thread and see where it goes. Allow yourself to flow with the thought and see where it leads you. If it leads to another thought, follow that one. Allow each succeeding thought to be the center of your attention, letting go of the previous thought that was there. Cycle through and show no resistance. If there is hesitance with any of these thoughts, it can be easy to stick with them, and not let them go. Your mind is a spiderweb of concepts, ideas, emotions, and experiences. All of them connected but not necessarily related. This is why following a thought rather than leading the the thought itself, allows you the clarity you need to see how everything is connected. Seeing the bigger picture of how your mind has spun the webs of information can be enlightening to a situation you are struggling with, or a thought that has been troubling you.
The hardest part about meditation is being able to let thoughts go. We often grasp onto concepts with no sign of letting go. They then follow us everywhere we go. Affecting our mood, decisions, and thus our experiences. Allowing certain thoughts to dictate our head space, can lead to disaster. When we carry around thoughts of negativity we often treat the things around us negatively. We have to dispel these thoughts in order to maintain a clear and open mind, otherwise we can affect our experiences and those around us negatively.
Carrying around this baggage of sorts, skews the way we behave and perceive. Feelings of negativity, project negative thoughts. Feelings of insecurity, project our insecurity outward. We will reflect what we feel because subconsciously, we are caught in this framing. This is why being able to let go of these thoughts and operate independently of them is a skill that can turn a bad day into a good day.
Meditation is not easy, nor is it for everyone. The important aspect to meditation is that you are in tune with your mind. You acknowledge that you are in command and your mind is simply another appendage to control. With this mentality you are capable of achieving anything. The mind is a tool, not your ruler. Allow yourself to control emotion, be disciplined with desires, and strategic with your work. Taking that small amount of time out of each day, can make you the master of your own fate.