Meditation and mindfulness is recommended for brain health and better living. I recommend daily quiet time to all my clients. You only need to find 5 to 10 minutes to get started. After meditating daily for months, you get to see how your mind operates. Quite often people are critical and think “My mind jumps all over. I don’t know how to meditate! What’s the point?” The thing is, that is just what the mind does. You are doing it perfectly.
What isn’t talked about so much is what to do when you learn deeper things about yourself that you may not like when you start sitting quietly? When you stop and sit, you may catch glimpses of deep sadness and grief. You may have moments of pure joy. You will have days of feeling nothing. Just like life.
I have been meditating on and off for a long time. Healing started when I finally stopped hiding. Actually, I didn’t know I was I was in deep hiding so first I had to notice. I was working overtime in disguise. I certainly couldn’t risk you seeing me in all my tender neediness. (Like you didn’t see me anyway!) In the language of Brené Brown, as I rumbled with my own inner demons, I moved through some kind of hierarchy of consciousness or mind cleaning.
I used writing, reading, meditating and looking at my thoughts. I had conversation after conversation with you, with myself, my coach, my sponsor, my inner child, the survivor, the delinquent teenager and the know-it-all rebellious feminist hippy with incredibly low self-esteem! We still meet often in my head. We are all friends now. We have an understanding.
Susan Piver (the Open Heart Project) in conversation with Lodro Rinzler (founder of NYC’s M N D F L) and Jonathan Fields on the April 13, 2016’s Good Life Project Podcast discuss what could be the treacherousness path of introducing mindfulness and meditation in a scientific and non-Buddhist context. Facing yourself in a mindful way presents a groundlessness that without supportive teachings to assist the mind, could lead to uncomfortable revelations, confusion and perhaps even depression.
You could say I have been over-the-top with getting help with ambiguity and groundlessness. Finding a good coach, a good therapist, reading self-help books and still with all the support I recommend, I had to sit alone with myself. I had to have that conversation and rumble with my thoughts of self-worth. The teachings of Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh soothe and surface here quite often. The self-coaching "Model" by Brooke Castillo and "The Work" of Byron Katie have given me the ground from which to unearth my beliefs safely and lovingly. 12 Step Recovery and working the steps is deeply revealing and healing.
In The Art of Learning, Josh Waitnozkin writes about being a young, focused and successful chess player. He remembers a mind not hindered by any internal conflicts. He believes that because of that freedom of clear thinking, he was able to live at the crossroads of knowledge, intuition and creativity. Full access to all of his intelligence led to a process of learning, spiraling through body, mind and bringing excellence to what he focused on in a moment. I doubt there is a survivor of child sexual assault who has felt much of that growing up.
Previously, I could not imagine a life unhindered by internal conflicts and now I can live that life from time to time.
Once the negative voices left my head, there was still an uncomfortable, nagging space. Visualization offers another way to see.
I am standing in an open field surrounded by distant fog. Reflected in the fog, I see forms, objects. Is it a city? A crowd? I feel this presence as an irritation, a question, a challenge. In each case, it is something I have to handle. Working through this visualization, I imagine I am like a cartoon character of the wind and blow with gale force – dissipating the fog. What is left? A crisp, clear day with nothing in sight. Just the warmth of the sun on my skin and fresh air.
Today, I sit in a field in upstate New York, outside my baby brother’s house. The cardinals are whistling at me, telling me I am pretty. The red-headed woodpecker reminds me of my fully loaded, red-headed brother, now remembered in Green Wood Cemetery, accompanied by a Native American medicine man and under the shade of a dogwood tree; also remembered in the hearts of all who knew him.
For this day I have an empty head that attracts images and chooses which to nurture and which to banish.
You can empty your head of unhelpful stories. Start Today. I have created a new worksheet – 6 Steps to Jumpstart Your Day. Each day a new beginning. Get your free copy today by clicking here.