Meditation Monday: Understanding Meditation

I probably should have made this post last week, but I was so excited about discussing the new revelations that can come from meditation. This week though, we are getting back to basics: understanding meditation.

I feel like this is an important post because it was something I didn’t understand very well the first time I tried meditating. The first few times I tried meditating in fact. You see, I thought that the goal of meditation was to empty your mind completely. As I later discovered, that is impractical and practically impossible, unless you are on the brink of enlightenment, which is certainly not me.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some monks who can actually regulate their body temperature through meditation, something science at one time thought was impossible. It speaks to the power of meditation, but most mediators aren’t going for that. I know I certainly am not.

So, if I am not trying to empty my mind and I am not trying to defy science and regulate my own body temperature at will, what is the point of meditation? Well, the first thing you have to understand is that there are many types of meditation. I practice mindfulness meditation, which is one of the more common ones, and which is what I will be talking about for the rest of this post. There are other types of meditation I will discuss in future posts.

Mindfulness meditation is not, as I mentioned before, about emptying the mind. In some ways, it is the exact opposite. It is about allowing any and every thought your brain wants to bring up. It is about simply being mindful of those thoughts. Observing them. Without judgment.

And the without judgment part of the equation is a challenge for most of us. I know it is for me. After all, we all have thoughts we’re not proud of, but part of recovery, part of meditation, is accepting those thoughts and being aware of them without judgment. Because when you remove the judgment, that is when you give yourself the power to choose how you react instead of your reaction controlling you. And this, for many people, is what they are trying to accomplish through meditation because this, for many people, brings about a bit more calmness and a bit more happiness. It isn’t a cure, just a bit of improvement.

And the last thing I want to say is that meditation isn’t for everyone. So if you try it and hate it, that is okay. If you try it and decide this isn’t helpful, this isn’t for you, there is no shame in that. Even though none of us have to be alone in our battles, that doesn’t me we all aren’t incredibly unique, which means that even if we have the same mental health battles and practice the same type of meditation, our results will likely differ wildly.

So, if you are just starting out on your meditation journey and are trying to understand it better, than hopefully this post was helpful. And if you have any of your own tips about meditation and are willing to share, I would love to see them. Until next time, be well.

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