meditation, selfhelp, Stark Reality, wellbeing

Nothing Like A Global Pandemic To Bugger Up Your Plans

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Having your nose rubbed in uncertainty

Clearly the most immediate and worrying concern that we all have about Covid 19 is that you or your loved ones might die of it.

Even if it doesn’t come to that, everyone is going to spend an awful lot of time dealing with how much their world has changed.

It also highlights an uneasy truth, that life is fundamentally uncertain. Most of us deal with this dilemma by ignoring it. We work hard, make plans for the future and when feeling less productive, we can get drunk, binge eat Cheetos and watch pornography. All in an effort to keep chaos at bay.

So when something as disruptive as a global pandemic takes over, it rubs your nose in life’s horrifying unpredictable nature. The virus has the potential to derail your entire life without so much as an apology. Losing one’s shit when this happens is a completely natural response.

This situation is a harsh reminder that your plans are just that; whims about what you want to happen in the future. Unfortunately stark reality doesn’t give a buggering stuff about this.

All you can ever be certain of is the present moment. And meditation trains you to be steady right now, even in face of butt-clenching uncertainty.

Authors Note:  This post has been really tricky because we are very aware of the fear and distress people are going through. Meditation can help with this and being ultra kind to yourself will support you through the chaos until things feel safer.

Marion & Linda x

 

meditation, messy mind, mindfullness, selfhelp

What’s The Point Of Focusing On Something Anyway?

When you focus on anything in meditation: your breathing, walking or the sounds in your room, it’s not because those things are in any way special. You’re doing it to become aware of all the batshit crazy nonsense that’s going on in your mind.

Trying to focus on something makes it really obvious how repetitive, insecure and exhausting most of your thoughts are. Having a focus helps you become more consciously aware of what you’re saying to yourself.

Your thoughts aren’t your boss – you can tell them to bugger off

Whatever messages you’re brain is bombarding you with, thoughts are just thoughts – you can choose to ignore them, take them deeply seriously and follow them into a dark place, or just decide to laugh at them.

Your thoughts are not The Truth. They’re just your mind trying to make sense of your world, but it usually makes a right arse of it.

Meditation helps you decide what to do with those thoughts, and soon you will realise that, weirdly, you are not your thoughts (more about this in another post!).

 

meditation, selfhelp, wellbeing

Why Working Your ‘Attention Muscles’ Makes You Happier

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This frog may look serene but he has a marble stuck up his bum to stop him falling over

It’s the noticing that matters

Every time you notice you’re distracted and bring yourself back to what you’re meditating on, you exercise and grow the ‘attention muscles’ of your mind.

So what? 

If you meditate regularly, the area of your brain that you use to pay attention to stuff, changes. How? Well, the more you realise how much of your thinking is ridiculous, repetitive or reactive, the less you’ll do it. You’ll think, “Christ on a bike, I’m still finding ways to make myself feel bad about what happened last Saturday! This has to stop.” The annoying thought will probably return, but you will give it less credibility and will shrug it off easier than you did before.

Watch yourself

When you’re flexing your attention muscles your thoughts become more rooted in what’s actually happening around you, and less focused on your own grumbly musings. And when you’re more present and engaged in the moment, you will spend less time worrying about stuff you’ve fucked up – or might fuck up in future. That alone will make you feel better.

Your concentration levels will also improve when you notice how easily distracted you are. This means you’ll be more immersed and focussed on the things you enjoy doing. And you’ll handle the things you hate with more awareness, which should help you put some space between your unpleasant experience and your thoughts about it.

Remember you’re not trying to clear your mind during meditation, you’re returning your focus to your breath. Noticing stretches the muscles that will make you happier and less anxious regardless of how often you behave like a complete twonk.

meditation, selfhelp, wellbeing

Brains Like To Worry About Stuff…

IMG_0800.jpgBecause you’re basically still a caveperson.

One of the more amusing things you will notice in meditation is your brain’s ability to escalate wildly. Your mind has an amazing capacity create much bigger problems. Say, for example, you feel a slight twinge in your back when you’re focused on your breath in meditation. Left to its own devices, your brain will be off and running like this:

Fuck! My old sports injury is back! It took years to recover the last time. My physio is really expensive too, he put up his prices last year. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I’m going on holiday next week and I don’t want to have to put up with serious back pain when I’m in Greece. That will be shite.

All this will take a fraction a second.

Dealing with this in meditation is simple. Notice your mind has wandered off, and gently shift your focus back. But it’s worth noticing the exaggeration process. You’ve gone from a tiny fleeting sensation to an expensive, debilitating condition that’s going to ruin your life. This is what brains do because…

Mentally – you are Stone Age

Your environment has changed enormously in the past few thousand years, but your mind is still wired to think everything is out to kill you. It was a good survival instinct at the time but Captain Caveman still rules your mind today. He’s always scanning the horizon for things that might go terribly, terribly wrong.

Given enough practice, you will get good as spotting when this happens. If you walk into work and your boss is unusually formal with you, you may notice that your brain is running away with itself thinking up reasons to explain why that would be. You can spot the daft theories about your boss not being happy with your finance report, or that HR has somehow caught you binge watching Great British Bake Off when you were working from home.

Catching your mind doing these bonkers somersaults and cheerfully ignoring them is one of the great skills to learn from meditation.