Hello best life seekers!
Do you have anxiety or stress or anger? Maybe you just feel upset all the time in one form or another. Has your meditation practice hit a wall or are you interested in a new meditation technique that might help? The following meditation technique can really bring on the peace and quiet we’re all desperately seeking. It helped me find a deeper peace that’s now difficult to shatter. Maybe it will help you.
Meditating for calm
Whether you are a long-time practitioner or have never meditated before, everyone can benefit from taking a moment to stop and turn inward. Meditation is really the practice of being mindful of your actions, thoughts and feelings from moment to moment. Doing this puts us in touch with how untrained our thoughts and reactions to the world are. And left untrained, our thoughts and reactions will drive us crazy.
When we’re spinning in our heads over things others have said or done or over our own actions and inadequacies, we’re often trapped in a bonfire of painful emotions and feelings. We let our head run away and cause us pain. Rather than sit and stew for another moment, why not learn how to stop the insanity? After all, when we’ve been foamenting mentally for 10 minutes, what’s the point of adding one more second to the madness?
And really, aren’t we all looking for peace from our internal pain?
The calming technique
The meditation technique to get us out of our pain is relatively simple but, like anything, takes some practice to get good at:
When you realize you’re upset – whether you’re angry, hurt, anxious, bored or whatever – stop the train of thought you’re on. Do this by identifying the emotion you’re feeling instead of focusing on the situation that caused this pain and rehashing it in your mind. Maybe you’re full of anger or rage, guilt or anxiety. Acknowledge the emotion and what you are experiencing. Like, “I’m so angry I could throw my TV out the window.” Fine. That’s how you feel. Now then, focus on where in your body you actually feel this emotion. Maybe the anger or anxiety is a burning in your stomach or your boredom is a vague sensation in your head area or your sorrow is a deep pressure in your chest or the stress is a tightness in your shoulders. Find where in your body you feel this emotion.
Rather than try to run away, look for the physical symptoms of your pain. Turn your awareness there. Don’t replay the scenario that caused it – the “he said…” or “she did…” or “why did…” or “how could…” or “they should have…” Instead, feel the physical sensation. Breathe through it. Sit with it as long as you can. Be compassionate to yourself, not judging it as good or bad but not beating yourself up either if you think how awful it feels.
This is called facing yourself and it takes great courage. It is knowing yourself and your feelings and having the kindness to allow these emotions to happen. Most people will run from this practice. We switch on the TV, take a drink, look for others to save us from our pain, lash out, blame or internalize. Leaving things ignored trains our mind to respond the same way next time and allows the emotions and habits to brew, fester and strengthen.
By facing these strong emotions though we begin to see them for what they are: physical sensations in our bodies. They have a sort of energy, sometimes so strong we think we’ll never survive and will be swept away. But the funny thing is that if you focus on the physical sensation happening in your body, in usually less than a minute it begins to ease and dissipate. Then it’s gone. No self-medication needed. Even better, do this enough and the recurrence lessens and lessens. That’s because you’re training yourself to catch and deal with signs of stress or pain before they can entrench themselves.
When you’ve calmed, you might feel a relaxing peace or sense of relief. What had just gripped you? The strange energy that held you hostage is nowhere to be found. You now have your mind, emotions and body back.
This is peace.
Going beyond the heat of the moment
This calming skill is an ability we all can learn and train. We no longer have to be hostage to our pain and anxiety. The trick to train is recognizing when you’ve been taken hostage and learning to turn inward to feel the physical sensation and the energy it carries. Once you can, you find peace and strength in yourself. You also learn to recognize the emotions or thoughts early on to prevent a full scale attack from occurring so frequently.
Using this technique, you can also then examine the feelings and thoughts that took over with a bit more rationality. Oftentimes we let our thoughts and emotions run on and on and never deal with their underlying causes. By stopping and calming, we gain peace but we also gain the clarity needed to strip off layers of hurt and deal with situations.
If a deep trauma or old emotional wound is causing our pain, we can start lessening its impact by cradling it gently with our awareness with the calming technique. From there, we can start the healing process – whether that is seeking counseling or other forms of support if needed, etc. Being able to calm the pain when it hits is a coping technique we should all learn because life is never gentle from beginning to end.
Sometimes when we calm our emotions and focus on feelings, we see that we merely need to let go of something that’s really not important – like anger over a rude cashier or stubbing our toe after we already had a flat tire that morning. We can sit with the anger or frustration, feel where the sensation is in our body and focus on it until it passes, which it usually does within a minute of quiet awareness of it. This can save us a day of internal grumbling and mounting grumpiness.
Other times, these feelings grow out of recurring situations or our own habits. Consequences follow and unless we either adopt new beliefs, habits or circumstances, the same outcomes will likely keep happening. Sitting and calming allows us to problem solve if necessary or in other cases accept or let go of certain situations or beliefs.
In all these examples, we first need to calm our thoughts and emotions to stop battering ourselves. Once calm we can take stock and take responsibility for how we respond to people, events and our own often-flawed expectations. We can move forward. Without handling our strong emotions, we risk repeating them again and again.
Calm and collected
Move from pain to peace by recognizing and facing your emotions, accepting them for what they are, and learning to calm them by finding the physical sensations they produce in our body and breathing through them.
Sometimes the natural outcome of this practice leads to action, like changing beliefs or situations that need changing. Even if no action is needed or you simply find a moment’s rest from the whirlwind of intense thoughts and emotions, this calming technique is a really useful life skill we could all learn.
Practicing this frequently, though, will put you among the most self-realized and self-knowing people on the planet. How can it not when you are facing yourself and the challenges life throws at you rather than running away or getting lost down the river of spinning, churning thoughts? You’ll also be one of the most peaceful and serene. And isn’t this the peace that we’re all seeking?
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