I recently spoke with a friend who expressed concerns about meditation. She knows people that meditate and seem to be having other spiritual experiences, some of which seemed to be unhealhthy. She thought meditation could be the reason for the other experiences. Since last weeks blog gave credit to meditation for a more balanced state of mind, I thought this weeks blog should be a clarification of the meditation process.
Some people believe that meditation opens the mind to spirit forces that can actually take the mind over. This is a gross misunderstanding. Meditation is a form of intense focus. That focus can be on our breath or a mantra. It can be on a loving kindness practice involving specific thoughts of good will. This last week in yoga class, our instructor took us through a walking meditation exercise. It was a powerful way of being present to breath, movement, and nature. Meditation is a part of most belief systems and should not be feared.
The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to allow the body and mind to calm. We do this by becoming the observer of our own thoughts. It is rare that anyone hears other peoples thoughts during this process. Whatever pops into mind should be observed and released. Spending time analyzing your thoughts is not the purpose of meditation. Meditation is discipline in remaining present. If you get caught up in your thoughts or "anyone's thoughts" you are not meditating. If you are unable to calm your mind, you may have other issues to deal with. Meditation is full focused attention, nothing more.
If you feel rested, relaxed, and rejuvenated after meditation. Than you are doing it properly. If you do not, then you need mentoring.
If you know someone who meditates and is experiencing dark mental states. If they seem to be depressed or unhappy, this is not because of meditation. They have other issues.
I have a list of self defeating mental states that I refer to and find helpful if I am unhappy for some reason. Once again I point to Dr. Joe Dispenza, the Indespenzable Joe. His book "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself", has an extensive list of limiting states of mind on page 244. I will list a few: feeling overwhelmed, complaining, desperate, dishonest, needing recognition, controlling, deceptive, rushing. This is not the complete list but it is helpful to see how common these states of mind are. He also lists limiting behaviors: sulking, feeling sorry for yourself, gossiping or spreading rumors, talking too much about the past. You can find the more complete list on pages 263 and 264. The meditation practice in this book is a positive life affirming practice.
Have a great week and try to observe yourself and your beliefs and take time out to listen to your own breathing. It won't hurt you one bit.
This song speaks to me about perspective. Meditation can help keep things in perspective.
This painting is 1500.00 36"x48" oil on canvas, if you are interested in purchasing it please fill out the contact form. I thought it embodied the contemplative state of walking meditation. Peace.