The 2nd of 4 Segments on the topic of “Why Meditate?”
In the battle between intellect and emotions, emotion control wins all day, every day. Our planet is full of geniuses who never achieve their highest potential because of their inability to manage their emotional impulses. Vice versa, there are many moderately intelligent people who live super productive and well-balanced lives due to their innate or learned emotional IQ. Emotions run the world. Everything you or everyone else has ever done, since the beginning of time, has been emotionally driven. Emotions get us up and out of the house to do what we do. They also lock us in our rooms in isolation or keep us on the couch with a tub of cookies ‘n cream. Intelligence is a valuable tool, but emotions attach meanings to our existence, and create our experiences. It is very conceivable to prioritize emotion management.
We often take it for granted just how powerful emotions are. Certain scientists have actually measured the energy wavelengths of emotions. Random thoughts give off an electrical charge, but emotional thoughts release a much more powerful electromagnetic pulse that interplays with the fields outside of our bodies…True story! There will be further discussion on this later in the article.
Many of us exercise ‘knee-jerk’ emotional reactions without blinking. We’re so quick to respond in a typical fashion, and we often justify this thoughtless behavior with the reasoning of “that’s just how I am/feel!” But more accurately, this behavior is a display of our programming, which may not be who or what we are at all. It’s impossible to know until we are able to take a mental step back and objectively look at situations in their entirety. We need to create the gap where time slows down enough to take a breath, and clear our frontal lobe so that Truth can reveal itself. This gap allows our intuition, reasoning, and rational to co-mingle and guide us towards acceptance and appropriate reactions. This skill is birthed through mindful meditation.
CREATING THE GAP
Practicing mindful meditation develops mind-managing skills more effectively than any other practice there is. When you sit in quiet stillness on a regular basis, and take on the noise of your thoughts in a kind and gentle way, there can be no other result but to create a calm place from which personally aligned responses can emerge. A buffer, if you will, between whatever external stimuli happens to come your way, and how you choose to respond to it.
More importantly, how you choose to perceive it, because perception is everything. It is our moment-to-moment perceptions that define the reality around us. It is certainly a mistake to think that at any given time, there is only one reality based on what you perceive to be real. The absolute Truth is that realities are a choice. We can simply choose to see things the way that we want. Once the choice has been made, our thoughts and actions align with that perception. However, we cannot make choices that truly benefit our well-being as long as we are operating on auto-pilot.
In other words, if our subconscious program, which is made up of past memories, is running the show, then it is virtually impossible to choose well. This may not be the case for those with a history of habitually choosing the path of peaceful thoughts. Nevertheless, research shows that the majority of people are operating subconsciously 90% of the time.
For most of us, our family, friends, teachers, and environmental circumstances have prompted us to download emotional memories that form our perceptions. I don’t think we should label any of our memories as bad, because that can potentially amplify their negative effect on us. Acceptance is key on that matter.
Our past holds many necessary lessons that have brought us to this point in our life journey. Some memories can serve us well, and some can impede our growth. Mindful meditation develops the skills that allow us to make that distinction, and to release the ones of our choosing. Without this skill set, certain memories within our programming can form restraints on our ability to see things differently. They can hold us in a loop of sorts, continually reliving our past over and over.
The gravity of our past can become like a security blanket we wrap ourselves in wherever we go. Even though it may feel awkward or uncomfortable at times, we dare not take it off because its familiarity makes us feel safe.
Some of us have constructed mental charting with such thick layers of programming that we will invest far more emotional energy into maintaining its structure, rather than seeking out the surrounding facts and truths of an alternative point of view. We choose to hold on firmly to our programmed beliefs, failing to interject logic and/or intuition for the sake of not being wrong and feeling vulnerable. This is Ego-driven behavior, and has been on grand display recently. Regarding any perception, we should always check-in to ask ourselves, “Did I choose this, or did someone else choose it for me?”
We are not aware of our subconscious programming until we practice awareness of it. And it is very difficult to practice awareness of it while we are in motion with it. The only way to begin the awareness process is in stillness; quietly waiting for it to show itself. We must first establish distance between the Self and the persona. This can only be done with still observation. After some practice, we begin to recognize the thing that reacts first, and then we are able to make adjustments on the fly.
Often, when practicing mindful meditation, thoughts seem like a raging hurricane. Just like a hurricane, if you stay present, the turbulence will pass, and a calmness takes its place. In that space, your breath moves to the forefront, and thoughts appear like drifting clouds passing through your mind sky, perfectly positioned for your unbiased inspection. It is here where mind managing skills are developed.
I’d like to take this spot to dissolve any belief regarding certain activities that may seem to resemble the practice of mindful meditation. Such as painting, gardening, playing a musical instrument, yoga, or even qigong. There is a distinct difference between focusing on something and being mindful of your thoughts. I come across this confusion often. Those activities can afford a preparedness for meditation, as well as other techniques, such as focusing on your breath, on a candle, or doing body scans for tension. However, nothing takes the place of being present with your thoughts — and learning to detach from them emotionally. That’s what makes meditation a unique practice.
“Thinking is not the same as being aware in fact, in can get in the way”…Deepak Chopra.
To be continued…