Human beings do not like to be alone with their thoughts. In fact, research on solitude, meditation and mindfulness has found that people's ability to focus on their own thoughts wanes after about 6 to 15 minutes of attention. In some experiments, participants preferred to give themselves electric shocks rather than be alone with their own thoughts.
The fact that we will go to such lengths to avoid our own thoughts means that there is something in our thoughts that needs to be looked at.
Mindfulness is the act of being awake and aware, and meditation is a tool to help accomplish this.
Many people think that meditation is about stopping all thought or making your mind a blank. But that is not the case. In meditation, we simply filter out extraneous thoughts and stimuli so that we can awaken to what's really present. Meditation helps you look honestly at your thoughts.
Anyone can meditate, no matter what belief system they hold to. Scientific research shows that meditation can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality, and improve the quality of everyday life. Meditation is simply a time to pause and take time out to be completely present in your life.
In our society, we value multi-tasking. We value goal setting and accomplishment. To some, meditation feels like doing nothing. It is solitude, it is mind-wandering. We don't see it as very valuable.
But more than the meditation itself is the value of the commitment to the practice. The results themselves are sometimes less important than just showing up every day. Showing up to take care of yourself.
Learning the Basics of Meditation:
Tara Brach Basics of Meditation 1 - Creating an anchor
Tara Brach Basics of Meditation 2 - Coming Back
During meditation we become aware of the stories our minds are spinning and we become aware that the thoughts we think are not true. We can also befriend ourselves and develop compassion and lovingkindness toward ourselves.
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Meditating on Your Life