One of the goals of meditation is to quiet the incessant chatter in our minds. For many people, it’s an impossible task. The relationship we have with their mind’s dialogue is strong. We feel safe and comfortable with it. I’ve had many moments during meditation where I boredom and annoyance were going to swallow me up.
The challenge is that people who are experienced with meditation will tell you that this is easy and we should all be able to do it. It’s not easy, but with time it can become easier. Unfortunately our lives are geared towards mindlessness. Those little devices we have in our purses and pockets were once used to connect with someone by talking to them and now they have become weapons of mass distraction. People are surfing social media or playing games all the time. I’ve even caught myself pulling out my phone while waiting in line. Theoretically I don’t need to be entertained while waiting in line, but our minds are so trained to be processing.
Social media is another distraction. We think in Twitter posts or sit in silence while transmitting messages to our friends. For some, it’s a good way to stay in touch. But often, it’s unnecessary and keeps us speaking in our minds all the time. The dialogue in our mind has an audience and it will continue to grow as we nuture this part of ourselves.
A big step towards mindfulness would be to wean off the mobile devices. They have their time and place, but their time shouldn’t be all the time.
We can also find hobbies or activities that require our concentration or allow us to become engrossed in it. For me it’s colouring, crocheting or writing. It gives my mind a break and it’s a sensation that we can become accustomed to when we try and meditate. The more you are in the “flow”, the better able you are to get into that state of mind at will.
Meditation requires a little bit of comfort within discomfort. It’s not comfortable to be alone with yourself. Especially when you start to become aware of the energetic snarls that arise from emotional baggage. It can be physically uncomfortable to deal with this. For me, it took a lot of time to untangle the knots in my solar plexus chakras and heart chakras. I would feel as though I had very bad heartburn or that there was an itch inside me that I couldn’t scratch. We have to move beyond this physical discomfort and instead of avoiding it, lean into it. We can practice this in our daily lives by paying attention to our excessive or inappropriate reactions to things. If you see someone that makes you uncomfortable and your chest tightens, don’t avoid them. Smile and say hello. If you find that a certain task makes your stomach clench, stick with it.
One thing I love is that what I do in the gym really translates into my spiritual life as well. I’ve been a cardio avoider for most of my fitness life. I can’t stand doing something for 30-60 minutes. Give me intense bursts and I’m happy. But have me run 10 kilometres at a steady pace and it’s torture. For me, by making myself regularly engage in cardiovascular activity like running has helped galvanize my ability to stay with the uncomforable moments during meditation. Because it’s eventually going to get uncomforable, even if it’s your legs cramping up from sitting lotus style for a long period of time.
What we do in our physical life will translate into what we do in our spiritual life, so choose your adventures wisely.