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Meditation: Thinking About Thinking

Posted by Tracii H.

Meditation: the practice of sitting still, thinking about nothing, and relaxing. Sounds easy enough, right? Then why is it that so many of us "beginners" have to plan meditation, make resolutions to do it regularly, struggle with stillness, and fight our wandering minds to the point that it becomes another stress in our already difficult lives? There are so many meditation techniques and exercises out there that volumes could be written on the subject, but here's what has worked for me: Sit or lie in a comfortable position in a quiet, non-distracting atmosphere with eyes closed. Take 10-20 deep, relaxed breaths through your stomach. Don't force it, just observe your natural breathing pattern in, out, in, out. Now just let your mind wander in the darkness. If a thought or emotion arises, don't suppress it. Instead, acknowledge it. Label it as a "thought", "distraction", or "static". Come back to the breath. Watch how the thought arises and falls away, just like the breath. Become an observer, detached from your thoughts and watching as they are born and die continuously, like clouds in the vast expanse of the sky. You will begin to become aware of how every emotion has the same life cycle, coming about and vanishing in your everyday life, thereby lessening the stress and anxiety attached to your thoughts.
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