Conflicts and fears, embedded in our subconscious, drive our thoughts and actions. We learn from birth to see the world through a lens inherited from parents, schools, the media, and the world around us. Because of this lens, many of us grow up believing that money is success, that we have to be afraid of failure, or that our value lies in how we compare to others. We learn to judge others by the same standards, and to reject those who fall short.
Meditation is a tool which allows us to explore the mind and escape these limiting patterns of belief. But the tricky thing is that in order to meditate we must first learn how to relax.
The brain is a complex computer, containing 10-13 billion cells called ‘neurons’. Its function is to receive and interpret information from our senses – sight, touch, sound, smell and taste. In order to do this, our brain relies on memory. Our mind compares the information from our senses with the information stored in our memory. If there is any disparity, our brain sets up a tension response. If our view of the world is based on fear and limits, this tension response becomes our natural state.
Only a small amount of the information from our senses reaches our conscious perception. This means that what we perceive is dictated by what our mind lets us see. If we believe that the world is filled with trouble and pain, then that is what we will see.
Things you can do to clean up your mind
1. Accept yourself. You are not your behaviours. Everything you do is a product of the lens through which you view the world.
2. Reduce your need to find happiness in outside things. Ask why you need them so much? What need do they satisfy in you?
3. List your greatest desires. What do you value and why? Were your parents the same? Begin to get to know yourself – you may be surprised by the things you take for granted.
4. Accept other people fully. They are looking at the world through their own lens. They have reasons for acting the way they do.
5. Live in the now. Take a lesson from Kung Fu Panda: ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift – that is why it is called the present’.
6. Try not to identify completely with your mind. It is a small part of you. Become aware of the underlying consciousness, the ‘watcher’ that is always there.
7. Be authentic and open with others. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, or someone you think you should be.
8. See the potential in others. We can all escape our lens. We all have a deeper state of being. Some people just don’t know it.
9. Difficult situations are there for a reason – they show us the way our mind works. Watch the way you react to other people. Why do some people irritate you so much? What is it about them that threatens you?
10. Walk in someone else’s shoes. Our reaction to life is usually automatic, based on our thought patterns. Think about why that person is reacting the way they are.
Did you miss our other Monday Meditation posts?
And don’t forget – our Learn to Meditate course starts today at 6pm!