Meditation can be a powerful way to calm your nervous system and bring yourself into a state of greater alignment with, and receptivity to, the creative energy of Abundance. And it can be a really simple and easy thing to do.
Some people think meditation is about having no thoughts… that it involves sitting down in a quiet room with your legs crossed in some impossible position, eyes closed, somehow forcing all the thoughts to just GO AWAY.
Great. Sounds simple enough… until you try it!
I don’t know about you, but my thoughts – unlike Elvis – never seem to leave the building!
This is why for many years I thought I sucked at meditation. Because, even when I tried to, I found that I simply could not stop thinking!
When those naughty little thoughts inevitably barged in despite my best efforts, I’d feel like a failure. Or I’d feel guilty about my intrusive thoughts… thinking “I shouldn’t be thinking about that, I’m supposed to be meditating!”
So not only was I failing to stop thinking, I was thinking about how I shouldn’t be thinking. That’s meta!
Soon enough, after finding the experience raised so much negative self-talk (which I shouldn’t even have had, by the way, because I was not supposed to be thinking!) I found the whole idea of meditating to be a drag.
“It’s such hard work, this business of getting the mind to stop! … I think I’ll scroll instead.”
Can you relate to this at all?
Truth is – and it took me a long time to understand this, and stop judging myself for it – we can’t FORCE the mind to stop thinking.
Nope. Forget that.
Our mind’s very purpose, its raison d’etre is to think thoughts.
Trying to stop the mind from thinking is like trying to hold back a tidal wave with our hands. It’s us against a force of nature. And nature always wins that contest.
Forcing the mind to stop thinking is NOT what meditation is about.
It’s not about forcing anything…
Everyone meditates sometimes, quite effortlessly and naturally. Every time you become engrossed in a repetitive activity that’s automatic, and doesn’t require your higher analytical cognitive function so that you can do the repetitive action and lose yourself in the moment … you’re meditating.
This is why some people find it so relaxing to knit, or swim laps, or run, or go down to the golf driving range and hit ball after ball. These activities are repetitive. They don’t require higher mental function, but they can give you a point of focus.
So can focusing on your breathing. So can focusing on chanting a mantra or a positive affirmation. So can focusing on cleaning the house.
All these things can be meditative activities, and they can bring a feeling of peace and mental relief if we give them our full attention.
They also help us to flex our mental focus muscles… and that pays dividends in all kinds of ways in other areas of our lives. It can help us to move out of our instinctual reactive modes – fight, flight, freeze or please – and into truly our creative and responsive modes. And THAT becomes an important engine of Abundance in our lives.
The key to meditation is not to try to stop thinking, but to give yourself an alternative point of focus so that you can habitually return to the point of focus rather than follow the random chatter of your mind.
When the chatter surfaces in the mind – as it will – simply choose to bring your attention back to the point of focus. That’s all.
The more often, and the more quickly and consistently you choose our point of focus over the chatter, the deeper will be your sense of relaxation and peace, and the more you will build your mental focus muscles..
If you’re not a monk or an advanced yogi yet, then your mind will probably still chatter. A lot. Some days more than others. Thoughts will arise, like a fountain whose source is never dry.
The process of meditation is one where, once you notice a train of thought chatter has begun… you acknowledge it, choose to follow it no further, and instead return to your chosen point of focus.
No guilt. No sense of failure. No right. No wrong. Just a simple choice – to come back to the point of focus, again and again.
Now, I’m not saying that states of non-thought don’t exist. They do, and even a brief experience of such a state is enormously nourishing to the soul. But these states cannot be forced, they are a gift. They tend to happen spontaneously when we are specifically not trying to force anything, but are just consistently choosing our point of focus.
There are many possible candidates for a point of focus in addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, like: singing; dancing; watching the flickering flame of a candle; watching the clouds pass across the sky; listening to the sound of your footsteps or of the rain falling; saying the rosary; chanting a mantra or praying to Allah. You might even choose to focus on a single thought or feeling like: peace on Earth; a feeling of love in your heart; a feeling of being lovingly held in the hands of the Universe.
You get to choose whatever works and feels good for you.
Meditation is free and accessible. It’s there for all, and it’s a completely natural thing to do. And the more you do it, the more you will come into alignment with the creative energy of Abundance that already lies within you.
As always, please scroll down and leave a comment if this post was helpful to you…
To YOUR Abundance,
Julie Ann Cairns