Looking for happiness in meditation
Looking for happiness in meditation
In the thick of my darkness, I felt drawn towards research on happiness, and it seemed that everywhere I turned I kept hearing about the benefits of meditation, and how it could bring us inner calm and happiness.
So I tried it.
There was so much talk about the benefits of meditation—It was difficult at first. I couldn’t concentrate that well and kept drifting off.
So I told myself, “Meditate for only one minute. Just breathe in and out.”
Soon, that one minute progressed to two.
By and by, it lasted longer, one minute at a time.
Meditation is powerful : it has brought me deeply profound revelations about my mind and thoughts.
However, at that point, I still found myself repeating certain negative patterns of behaviour—like a hamster on its wheel, I was part of my own insane loop going round and round.
Meditation made me aware that I had to get off that wheel, but I was not ready yet. It was a lot easier clinging on than getting off.
Besides, I didn’t know how to get off exactly, so I carried on without doing anything about it.
I continued meditating every day, and I must have progressed deeper into it unknowingly, because one day, in a deep meditative state, I found myself astral-traveling.
What is astral traveling?
Astral travel, or astral projection, is a sort of out-of-body experience where your consciousness is able to leave your physical body and travel (like a really cool Doctor Strange superpower). My spiritual journey accelerated after that. I began having experiences of traveling back in time to seemingly random points in my life through meditation.
Yes, key phrase—“seemingly random.” But of course, they were not random. They were usually unpleasant memories lodged in the shadows of my mind. Memories that have been waiting for me for decades.
How meditation feels like
After several years of practicing meditation, there have been some occasions when I experienced time travel. During one of these sessions, I astral-traveled back to my childhood home, back to the room I had as a teenager, which was right next to my parents’ room.
As I stepped in, I immediately understood that my anxiety had actually begun many, many years ago. In that very room.
The feeling of anxiousness.
The feeling of dread.
The feeling of being helpless.
He would tell me that there was no point in studying and going to school because, according to him, I’d grow up to become a prostitute. He frequently came home vomiting on the bed he shared with my mom. She would have to clean it up. He would burp and hiccup. It was horrible—the hurled abuse. Those little noises at night.
How meditation help me heal
It was through meditation that I got in touch with my intuition and that was when I unpacked my emotional baggage.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have emotional baggage. Big, fat, ugly ones.
Most often, we are willing to acknowledge our emotional overload only when we face something terrible, like the loss of a loved one, a broken heart, a nasty divorce, a financial hit, a miscarriage.
Unless we take the time to unpack, those burdens will never become lighter.
No matter how you brush them aside, they will only get heavier.
There is another type of meditation that i recommend for beginners and its’ called mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is meditation made simple.
Buddhists have been practicing it for thousands of years, but in the Western world it’s a relatively recent concept.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your full attention on the flow of your breath, sensations or feelings to bring yourself calmly into the present moment.
It is one of the easiest ways to learn that thoughts are transient things that can be observed in a detached, compassionate way.
Integrating mindfulness into the way you experience your life allows meditation to take more of an active role in the way you perceive everything from your inner world to everything going on outside.
How is mindfulness practiced?
The beauty of mindfulness is that it can be practiced at anytime, anywhere. All you need to do is gently place your attention on a direct sense. It could be the movement of your breath or the sensations in your body. If you are washing dishes, you could become very aware of the sensation of water on your hands. As you focus on the breath or physical sensations, you will then start to notice the thoughts that naturally come and go in your mind. Instead of having a knee jerk response to them, you can naturally begin to let them pass by without struggle or resistance towards them. Allow them to drift in and out while you remain a non-critical observer. With time, you will learn to connect to a deeper sense of self that is never critical and sees things with detached clarity.
How does negative thoughts affect meditation?
We all experience patterns of negative thoughts. It’s a very human thing to get caught in a downward spiral and repeatedly perceive things in the same way. It takes significant effort and discipline to change entrenched ways of thinking.
By choosing to become conscious of your thoughts rather than succumbing to their control, you begin to exercise a more positive way of dealing with unhappiness, anxiety or depression.
Mindfulness is not about never having another negative thought again. If your goal is to banish negativity forever, you’ll just pressure yourself to be perfect, turning mindfulness into some kind of race to win or task to check off of your to do list.
Does Neuroscientific Studies Back Meditation?
Scientific research tells you that mindfulness really works to reduce anxiety, and stress. Studies also reveal that neuroplastic changes actually take place in the structure of the brain.
How does mindfulness meditation affect my brain?
After mindfulness meditation, different regions of the brain associated with empathy, compassion and focus show changes in tissue density and thickness.
The science also links to how people feel after meditating, with significant improvements in psychological well being.
What are easy exercises to practice mindfulness ?
Step 1: Be where you are:
If you are outside, stop for a moment to feel the sun on your face, the breeze in your hair or the air in your lungs. Focus your attention on a sensation and let it bring you to the present moment.
Step 2: Enjoy the Activity:
If you find yourself rushing around trying to get a million different tasks done. Stop, bring your mind gently to the task in hand and focus on the details of it. For example, if you are cleaning, really notice the motion of what you are doing. Sense the muscles you are using and let your mind flow with the activity.
Step 3: Watch the Birds:
Observe a small insect or a bird. If you can train your mind to just calmly watch a bird as it goes about it’s business, you will bring your thoughts to a state of detached awareness. Animals are perfect for this kind of focus because they just simply are being as they are, without much effort. Allow yourself to relax and observe without thinking about anything other than the creature.
Observe movements, appreciate its energy and you will bring yourself to a state of calm.
Intuition is your superpower is the title of my book. Available on Amazon both on kindle and paperback and also audible. BUY IT NOW FOR $.9.99
I’ll love to hear what you think about your intuition after reading my book.