Saturday, November 11, 2017

[Guest Article] Amy: Meditating with a Noisy Brain


A note from Witchy Words:  At the beginning of the year, I asked the circle I coordinate, Circle of Fountains, if they'd each like to do a guest article based on a topic that I might not be able to cover.  This is a great effort by my amazing circle to give you information that you might not otherwise encounter here at Witchy Words.  The following article is written not by me but another member of Circle of Fountains, with credit and notes about its author below.  Enjoy!

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“I need to do laundry later."
"Whoops! I’m not focusing at all. This was supposed to help me focus!"
"Is she still talking about trees? Ugh. I can’t take her seriously."
"I should at least try to empty my mind. Empty...empty space...with comets...empty boxes…still have some boxes to unpack from the move... Crap. This isn’t emptying! I’m still thinking!"
"This is doing me no good. I actually wish I were doing laundry.”

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Is this right? I don’t think I’m doing this right.

That is not what a good meditation sounds like, but it is often what I experienced. We all know there are many benefits to meditation, including lowering stress and anxiety. But what do you do when the anxiety keeps your brain noisy, making it difficult to meditate? It took me a long time, a lot of different perspectives, and a lot of practice to find some techniques that worked for me.

1. Don’t force it.
One way that has given me some help in the past is not emptying my mind at all, but rather filling it with white noise. I would put on soothing music, light a candle, and focus on a painting. This painting was of a hiking trail, with a little pond, and mountains in the background. I would imagine hiking or swimming, and eventually I would slip into a more meditative, dreamlike state. This is a slightly time consuming method, but very pleasant.

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It wasn’t this one, but it was similar. This is in the public domain, so you could even print it out and use this specific painting if it speaks to you!

2. Make as much quiet space as you can.
I can’t make my thoughts stop. I’ve gotten better, so I can shut down an individual thought, but I am still incapable of thinking nothing. I’ve found a quiet space in my mind, though. Did you see the X-Men movies? You know when Professor X goes into Cerebro, and all the images are flying around him? I do that with my thoughts--they are there, but on the periphery. I have a calm space in the middle. This is my go-to technique when I have to recenter in the middle of something; now that I’ve practiced, I can get to my Cerebro-space in moments! (Thank you, Marvel Studios!)

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This...is NOT a picture of my mind. This is the storm at the south pole of Saturn, courtesy of NASA. It’s very similar, though.

3. Forgive yourself your imperfections.
A thought travels past you! It feels like a failure when that happens, I know. It’s not, though. It’s just a thing that happens. If you are carrying a stack of papers and one falls, you don’t immediately berate yourself for being terrible at carrying papers, you just pick it up and keep moving. You can do that exact thing with meditation--acknowledge the thought, put it back in the periphery, and keep going.

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Even in your facepalming moments, you are okay and worthy. Keep it up!

4. Meditating IS being productive.
This is not useless. Even if you’re not good at it yet, it’s not useless. Investing in your emotional well-being is worth anyone’s time. You don’t have to do it for half an hour before it counts; try a couple of minutes per day. You’re worth at least a couple of minutes.

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Or just pet a dog. It’s pretty much the same thing.

I hope some of that helped. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to fold some laundry.

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Amy, an eclectic Wiccan, is the Circle Publicist for Circle of Fountains. In the last few years, she has focused her nerdiness on a wellness career path, achieving her massage therapy license and currently pursuing a personal trainer certification. 




1 comment:

  1. Good tips, thank you. :) I struggle with medtation but I'm better with guided ones, listening to an audio.

    ReplyDelete