What is meditation power and how can we use it to improve the quality of our lives? We live in the information age, which is an age characterized by an abundance of thinking. Wherever we turn there is information pouring into our senses. As a result, our mind is revving, constantly trying to sort-out, digest and keep up with all the incoming data.
How do we give our mind a break? Do we need to wait for a nervous breakdown or are there ways we can be proactive in dealing with the mind?
Thinking non-stop without the ability to slow down is draining. It is also unhealthy since many stress related dis-eases are linked to the very thinking that stresses us out. Finding ways to truly give rest to the mind is neither child's play nor luxury. It is a vital component of our mental health.
Meditation power is the power to give true rest to the mind. It is the power to restore vitality and mental health. The power of meditation is the power that is ours when we step out-of-the-mind.
What happens when we meditate? Well, if you are a beginner to meditation then you most likely will be struggling at first. You will be thinking about all of the things that you were told you are supposed to do in meditation in order to do it 'right'. Including the somewhat vague and completely unintelligable instruction to just 'not think'.
You will be thinking about not thinking and then you will scold yourself for thinking about not thinking. This is the typical inner struggle of beginners to meditation leaving them wondering whether they should give it up or try something else.
One of the best things we can do at the beginning is to focus on our posture and work on releasing and adjusting the muscle tension in various parts of our body (see what is zen meditation for more on this). We can also use one of the two mind control techniques outlined in how to meditate for beginners to help focus and concentrate the mind.
As we start settling into our practice, as we start getting used to it, we go beyond these initial mind games to explore increasing depths of the meditative state. Thoughts come and go as they will, yet they don't seem to have the same hold on us as they used to. We acquire the ability to just let them be.
We are sitting. We are the constants in the sitting equation. Our thoughts, emotions, feelings are the variables - they constantly come and go.
Meditation power lies within a newly budding relationship between us and our thoughts. We become observers to thought instead of the main players. We take a backseat to thought instead of trying to occupy center stage. Over time we realize that this new vantage point on thought has actually given us a new vantage point on ourselves.
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness."
Over time, as our practice ripens, we realize the tremendous power that comes with the ability to observe our thoughts. Where we used to be completely wrapped up in thought, now there is space. Thoughts still come, yet they don't trigger an immediate emotional response like they once used to.
This is the gap, or space, that Steven Covey the author of the book, 'The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People' refers to in the quote above. Covey identifies a gap between what happens to us... and our response to what happens to us. This gap, or space, is where we learn to make our choices. It is the essence of being proactive vs reactive.
In mindfulness meditation the stimulus is usually a thought or emotion as we turn our attention inwards. As our meditation power grows we experience a lengthening gap between an arising thought and our actual response to it. Eventually the gap becomes so large that we have the power not to react or respond at all. The thought, emotion or impression comes...and it goes...and we remain utterly untouched. We become truly impartial observers. At this stage our capacity for proactivity has grown immensely. As we become less reactive to internal stimulus we become less reactive to outer stimulus as well.
As within so without. Our internal responses beget external responses. Our internal reality begets our external reality. This is a powerful practical manifestation of meditation power.
Meditation power is the ability to step out-of-the-mind. It is the ability to give ourselves a true vacation from the mind. In our increasingly hectic world, living increasingly stressful lives, we need to cultivate the power to rest the mind. This kind of 'rest' leaves us feeling rejuvenated and revitalized and ready to take on the challenge and joy of life anew.
Like what you've been reading so far? You can download the best of it here...
Click image for details
Copyright© 2012, Evolutionary Pathways®. Proactivity, Motivation and Self Improvement. All Rights Reserved.