Meditation to help you tackle stressful and negative thinking
5 November 2018 | beando_admin
In recognition of National Stress Awareness Day 2018, we have produced a special guided meditation to help you develop new tactics to respond to and deal with stressful negative patterns of thought and feelings.
There are many sources of stress, but its impact is only experienced in one place – YOU! Or more accurately, the mind and body. So what if we could change our relationship to our mind and body? Build a bit of space, learn to be still and change the way we see and react to things that are happening?
Well that is exactly what meditation is for. All meditation is designed to help promote and nurture a change of perspective.
With practice, that perspective change and the insights that grow show us we need not always be distracted by negative thinking, closing us off until we just can’t see a way out. Instead we can change how we respond. And it’s a natural process that once practised seems to happen all by itself.
The key is to cultivate a different way of looking. In scientific terms, modern meditation employs an open field awareness. The field being your body and mind. While the open aspect is cultivating non-attachment or non-judgemental awareness. This is different from detachment which suggests a cutting, resisting or turning away. Instead non- attachment is all about learning to look and then see things as they are happening without judgement, analysis or labels. We call this witnessing and it’s a key meditation skill.
We tend to build stress in the mind and feel it in the body. This is because the mind and body are closely connected. In yoga science they are regarded as pretty much the same thing — an insight modern medicine is also catching up with. Because they work together as a field, an enclosed feedback loop is created as the body-pain then feeds back into the mental state.
This is a cycle of negative thinking and feeling which over a very short time becomes a mental habit that feels like you can never break free from. It eventually manifests into an ever-enclosing, tightening space which compresses and suffocates, cutting you off from the world and who you really are. It can be exhausting and debilitating. In the worst case, it’s frightening, as it can lead to anxiety or depression.
You can break free of this space once you learn to do two simple and interconnected things:
- Change your relationship, or your perspective, to the overpowering space and;
- By doing so, allow this space to lift naturally, revealing a different, more purposeful, uplifting, happier and inclusive space underneath.
That space has always been there. Our core starting principle at beanddo is that you are happier than you think (literally). Change the way you think and you will find that inner wellbeing.
After a while you will notice that negativity is simply a passing experience that only exists on the surface. Even though you may feel it’s real, it isn’t. It’s made up. Underneath is the real you – not the you that is thinking itself into pain. It’s a space of pure moment-to-moment awareness, available in the now. It is never angry, never tired, never worried, never anxious and never stressed. All we need to do is come into present, open up the flow of simply being.
Modern meditation is the technique. Meditation will help you come into an open awareness or flow state. This is done by changing the way we react and perceive present experience. We use these techniques to maintain that experience, which then teaches us to notice when something like a particular thought or feeling distracts us and blocks the flow of pure awareness.
Feeling the flow
With practice we develop insight regarding the type of thoughts, feelings and images that we become attached to that interfere and block our feeling of flow. We notice our own rumination, our very own self-created mental habitual pattern. As flow diminishes, we notice how particular thoughts arise and how they make us feel and how they are part of the underlying assumptions we have about ourselves and others which restrict and compress us.
The key then is to do nothing with the negative restrictive patterns. Just watch them. And when flow happens, stay with it and after a while you will know how to promote and sustain it.
When we manage through modern meditation to maintain attention towards that open flowing state it opens up new forms and experiences of what life could really be like. Similarly, old automatic mental habits, compulsions and addictive mental attachments to what we think things should be are replaced by a new clarity helping you see things as they really are. With practice comes a new, more innate or inclusive capacity of awareness and sense of being, leading to a firmer sense of stillness and peace.
Eventually your past resistant thinking turns into resilient thinking, as a knowing insight, purposefulness, creativity and wellbeing grows.