What Meditation Is
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Meditation is a process of letting go, not accumulating, it is not another skill or possession that we can add to our list. It’s just the opposite, meditation is about undoing the years of mental habits we have all accumulated, it is about teaching us how to let go, to bring us to a natural state of happiness and peace.
Meditation is a natural process that provides a release valve for our emotions, an off switch for our incessant thinking and a way for our brains, to use computer jargon, to defrag. It provides a means for us to process and put down the burdens of the day, allowing us to relax and to lessen the stress of our day to day lives. It offers a means of dealing with and desensitizing past traumas and also removes the fear of the future; it gives us an understanding, through first hand experience, the functioning of life itself.
Meditation is an Exercise
It is an exercise of the mind, and like any other exercise, it requires us to perform it regularly to build up our mental muscles. Meditation requires skill, just as a gymnast needs skill to walk on a beam so too a meditator develops skill to quieten their mind. When our mind is unfit and we don’t take the time to develop the skill we suffer the consequences of busy thoughts, emotional turmoil and being caught up in repetitive thought patterns.
An untrained mind is one with constant thinking, one that never is quiet, one that reacts easily through emotions that lead to friction in our lives. A well trained and skilled mind thinks only when it is needed, it is not ruled by emotions, it does not experience stress, anxiety or depression. It is quiet, still and clear, capable of deep caring, compassion and joy. This is not a fantasy but a reality, one that is available to everyone, by simply doing mental housekeeping, and valuing mental health.
Meditation is an exercise that can be started at a young age and be practiced for your whole life. Not only can meditation be done for your whole life but it also is one of the few things that you can do that you will get better as you get older, your skill level will improve. You life will improve, it will feel smoother, less ups and downs, you will experience more happiness, your relationships will improve as will your feeling of belonging in life itself.
Our happiness and unhappiness is affected by the way we think, our thinking patterns actually colour the way we perceive the world. Two people can be walking on the beach one is having the time of their life and the other can't wait to just get it over and done with.
What is the difference? The way they think.
Habitual negative thinking patterns colour and control our lives, during our classes you will learn meditation techniques to decondition negative thinking patterns, retraining your mind to think in more positive ways, making your life smoother and more enjoyable, improving your work life, relationships and happiness.
Feeling anger and dislike does not have to be our natural way of reacting, we have a choice, and we also have the ability to change this habitual tendency. This is because feelings of anger, dislike, hatred and irritation are cultivated states of mind, so also are greed, selfishness and desire. They are cultivated because every time we act on them we strengthen the pathways in our brain related to them.
Understanding Negative Patterns
Every time we feel upset and react to that feeling we exercise it, in the same way a good gymnast will gain better skill and strength through repeating the same series of somersaults, we also exercise our negative thinking and emotions. They get stronger through constant repetition so that they become the most likely way we will react when our buttons are pushed.
With practice our emotional way of reacting becomes our defining traits, they become who we are. I am an angry person, I am a shy person, I am a ……. person, we hear this often, this type of thinking implies that we are our emotions, we are our thinking, that the type of person that we are is somehow fixed. Now this is true in some sense, we are what we think about most in the same way that we are what we eat.
Just as the type of food we eat defines the health of our bodies so too our thinking patterns and emotions that we indulge in define the health of our mind. Everyone knows changing our physical diet affects our health, but not everyone realises that in the same way changing our mental diet affects our health also.
Our mental perception colours the world that we live in and how we perceive it. Two different people can be sitting in the same room and one is having the time of their life, the other cant wait to get out of there, what is the difference? Their perception, they both perceive the situation differently, our perception is coloured by what we think, and our emotions come up dependant on that thinking pattern, at what aspect it is pointing at, highlighting.
Through meditation we have the ability to retrain the way we think, to understand how we create our own pain and also the way to be free of it. This is not only during meditation practice but for the whole of our lives, in the queue at the checkout, down the beach, at work, looking after your children. Meditation is not meant to be something that is practiced separate from our lives, it is meant to be lived, our meditation classes are designed to show you how.
We all have the ability to turn our lives around, to mould the type of person we want to be, the question is, how do you want to define your life?
Meditation Class schedule click here to find out more.
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This article was written by Stephen Procter, instructor from Tai Chi Health for Life, Australian College of Tai Chi & Qi Gong and Meditation Instructor from Meditation in the Shire, Kirrawee NSW, Australia. If you wish to post this article on another website or in a publication please respect the author and reference / link back to this website, thank you