It’s all in the mind. There’s no doubt that the mind has incredible power, but without an adjudicator, it can be prone to over-thinking, rehashing and creating its own melodrama.
Old, recycled thoughts can keep us – and the people close to us – trapped. Feelings or difficulties that we haven’t been able to voice or work through to an agreeable solution can become wedged inside us. Although when grief, sadness or anger resurfaces, we can simply swallow it back down, if not dealt with and cleared, it can be cannon fodder for the mind to replay the same message over and over, without respite.
“You are the sum total of your most dominating or predominant thoughts.” Napoleon Hill
We don’t deserve to be held ransom by our thoughts and those connected to us don’t either. There’s fantastic support available and many success stories of people becoming unstuck through therapies such as counselling, neuro-linguistic programming and hypnosis. Perhaps they’re all tools that seek to achieve the same thing: acknowledging and releasing repressed feelings and thought patterns.
For me, the two most practical, cost-effective and timely tools to identifying and re-setting re-current thought patterns are meditation and mindfulness. I change my practice to reflect any current challenges, allocating just 15 minutes most mornings. The interesting thing about practicing them is that I didn’t just wake up one day and feel marvelous. Like anything organic or natural, progress is slow but sure – and ever-evolving.
Here are three things that daily meditation and mindfulness practice has taught me:
- Freeing my own mind from spiraling thoughts not only frees me, but also any person/s who may be subliminally affected by them. As I accept and respond differently to others, so they have more choice on how to respond, creating new possibilities for everyone.
- Over time, the load of hurts can be lessened. This creates more head-space to focus on other things more deserving of precious time and energy.
- Every choice has merit and is influenced by a person’s unique life experience. We can disagree one something and still both be right. Let’s embrace that!
There are many guided meditations available to buy online and that’s one way to jump start and embed a regular practice. After attending a couple of meditation groups, I veered down the non-traditional path of developing my own practice methods, rather than using a prescribed one. Do what works and feels right for you.
Whichever way you start, here are a couple of simple meditation and mindfulness ideas to consider incorporating into your own practice:
- Find one positive word, a mantra that you believe in, that sits right within you. Repeat that word in your mind, see each letter and place it upon each of the energy centres of the body, one-by-one (feet, base of spine, lower abdomen, stomach, heart, throat, between the eyes and top of the head). Use your deep diaphragm breathing to slowly breathe in, focus on each centre, hold the breath, then release out, repeating your mantra as you visualise it touching each centre.
- Tell yourself that you intend to set aside time to release any old feelings that no longer serve you. Sit and scan the body and wait for any to appear, then identify where the body you are ‘holding’ the feeling. Where is the tension of this feeling held? See the feeling and let it be seen. Name it and accept it – voice this if needed. Now imagine pure white light beaming into the feeling, holding and surrounding it, then carrying it away for cleansing and transformation.
Depending on the nature of the feeling/s held, you may devote many ‘sessions’ to a particular one. Lightness in replace of tightness is a good sign that it is shifting or has cleared. With regular mindfulness practice, repressed feelings are noticed and accepted without judgement, from which they can then be let go of more easily.
As a busy mum, these small yet significant practices maintain a daily habit of giving time to myself to restore my inner well-being, so I’m less likely to ‘boil over’ at surface stresses. As I manage my own reactions, I have more energy for things that matter most and am clearer about the boundaries of what’s right to take on.
Sometimes life brings up people and situations that challenge us. Rather than run away from these challenges, by using meditation to find that inner calm and releasing caged feelings through mindful awareness, you’ll begin to grow into acceptance. You’ll love more and grow more…and free others to do the same.