What a year and a half of Meditation taught me
It was literally just a google search.
I remember sitting at the edge of my bed, frustrated and exhausted from the endless chatter in my head. So, I googled “How to not get overwhelmed by thoughts” (typing that sentence on google was tiring in itself), and, the app Headspace showed up as a search result.
Without even knowing what it was, I clicked on the link and started exploring their content. To be honest, it was the beautiful design that caught my attention, it made me want to stay there, as if, a combination of code seemed to get my frustration- it empathized with me.
One thing led to another and I started meditating every day for ten minutes.
It has been almost a year and a half now, and, the simple act of sitting idle for ten minutes has taught me more about myself and life than any textbook.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned:
#1 We are not our thoughts and feelings
The French Philosopher Rene Descartes is famous for his saying “We think therefore we are” which, roughly translates into equating identity with thinking. And, to some extent, we’re all pretty identified with the voice in our heads, that constant chatter that guides our lives. It tells us what to do, who we are and how to react to situations.
A similar story holds true for feelings. Whenever we feel an emotion, we tend to become it.
Meditation taught me that, in reality, we’re not our thoughts or feelings. That, itsa sense of space can be created between the real “us” and our conscience.
Sitting idle for ten minutes is tougher than it sounds, our minds are going to wander and our feelings- erupt. The goal, then, is to not get lost in this and instead- be present. That is, whenever the mind wanders, recognize thit’sa thought and bring our attention back to the body, to the point of focus (breath in case of Mindfulness Meditation and Mantra in case of Transcendental Meditation).
The same holds true for getting space from feelings. A body scan helps us recognize the physiological changes happening in our bodies (that feeling of rush during rage or excitement, the “heaviness’ in our chest during depression) , helping us “see” our feelings instead of be it.
During times of stress, this space helps us make better decisions. It stops us from using our fists during that argument or believing that we suck just because that voice is a downer.
So, was Descartes wrong? I’ll let Eckhart Tolle take over:
The philosopher Descartes believed that he had found the most fundamental truth when he made his famous statement: “I think, therefore I am.” He had, in fact, given expression to the most basic error: to equate thinking with Being and identity with thinking.”- Eckhart Tolle, Power Of Now
#2 Life is simple. It just.. is
We have many interpretations of what life is and isn’t; When things go wrong, these perceptions come into play and things get a bit more complicated than they actually are.