Meditation: It’s a Mad, Mad Mind

The image featured here is an amazing representation of what stream of consciousness really means.

stream-of-consciousnessThe mind is a truly amazing thing, making connections to memory from the incredible number of stimuli we experience. Sights, smells, touch, sounds, and tastes can send us through a whirlwind of thoughts – sometimes just pieces, or deeply meaningful memories to linger in for a long while.

Unfortunately, we seem to be conditioned to tamp down our brains from enjoying these flights of fancy. Concentrate. Focus. Clear Your Mind.

I can tell you, the stronger you fight it, the more overwhelming these memories come coursing back.

Even more difficult, ideas, tasks, or remembering something forgotten can break our concentration, and send us on a long, distracted journey. Remembering you forgot to empty the dishwasher brings you to the kitchen for 15 minutes. Then you realize you left the bread out and a sandwich sounds good. You remember making a sandwich as a kid and notice you are out of strawberry jam, so you head off to the store. It seems that our brains work against us constantly.

Once we recognize that we’re stuck with this amazing machine in our heads, and learn a little more about how it works, the more it becomes a powerful tool.

Mindfulness meditation is the first and best tool for managing your mind. Mindfulness is about being in the moment, and allowing the mind to experience the moment, the sensations of being present in the stimuli swirling around us. An important part of this meditation is to acknowledge the things that pop up to distract us from the moment, and then move on.

Forcing these distractions from our minds doesn’t really deal with them. It is as if you are just shoving something in front of them and once that moves out of the way, the thought or feeling is right back in your face.

Through the Personal Retreat, we help you through this mindfulness meditation and show you how you can deal with them in the moment, and then be able to move on. Respect the really awesome thoughts or ideas you might have by jotting them down, and then returning to the exercise.

We only lightly touch on mindfulness meditation in our program. The goal is to give you the easiest, most basic tools to meet your ends in the Personal Retreat. There are far better guides for a complete mindfulness meditation, including an auditory guide for the process to keep you on track throughout the process. A few I would recommend are:

Sam Harris: How to Meditate

Northern Arizona University: Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

The Science of Meditation

I have had some of my best ideas come to me while in a mindfulness meditation. My goal wasn’t to come up with ideas at all. My goal was simply to be in the moment and allow thoughts and feelings to rise and fall away.

I hope you try a meditation soon. You only get better at it with practice, and you’ll enjoy the journey and the benefits!

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