Have you ever nibbled on your nails? When chewing, you even thought “actually I shouldn’t be doing that” That’s just one small example of the existence of unconscious behaviours that we often only become aware of during or after the execution. In fact, most behavioural processes are completely unconscious and can have far worse consequences than nail biting. Meditation is about becoming aware and finally letting go of many different habits and worse dependencies that lead to the feeling for lack of freedom and into many modern disorders.
The practice of meditation is the royal road to self-liberation and the goal of yoga practice in the Far Eastern tradition. The term goes back to the Latin meditatium, which is used in almost all religions as a synonym for the term ‘contemplation’, which means something like a “concentrated immersion” or simply “becoming conscious”.
But meditation has its origin long before the religions known to us came into being. Today it is just as independent as an independent practice that has surprisingly positive therapeutic effects on mind and body. It has been proven not only to help relieve depression or anxiety, but even help with chronic problems and pain.((Minfulness Meditation for chronic pain. A Systematic Review))
And with sustained practice, meditators find that healing is about more than solving the annoying ailments themselves, namely, clarifying the connection between self and world.
This connection is therefore of decisive importance for personal, social and, last but not least, ecological health. More important than ever and with it the re-spread of mediation as a practice and culture. Of course there are other methods of sustainable healing methods for mental or chronic complaints for which conventional medicine only finds cosmetic answers. Some are also described here as effective methods. From the perspective of meditation, however, these can be viewed as ways that basically pursue the same principle and result with different focuses and means. The contribution tries to go beyond the threshold of instructions for meditation and to illuminate the same in the salutary principle.
Liberation of too much thinking
Keeping quiet in mediation may seems difficult in the beginning? Sure, it needs a will and discipline in the to sit or lay down and not follow the thoughts anymore. But you will succeed with time and exercise and concentration. A space might gradually emerge in which thoughts and their origins as well as the reactions or evaluations, they provoke can be discovered as an automated process. What are the patterns of these thoughts and what do they respond to? A more comprehensive understanding arises, through which the mind gets more distance and can decide more freely for independent resonance.
If old concepts and beliefs fall victim to new insights, that’s fine. Meditation is not about targeted optimisation, as this the case with modern habit trackers for example, which suppose to help change habits towards more productivity or success in general. There are no such things as good or bad habits. Habit means doing something subconsciously – and that’s basically never good. Meditation however is about supporting the awareness and thus a change that is not controlled by the current perception of personal improvement or success, but rather by one’s own self.
Leave these loops, that squirl around your authenticity and the joyful life that belongs to it.
Connection with the body – awakening in the moment
Where the body and its sensations are observed with full attention – the beating of the heart or the breath flowing through – the mind steadily comes into the now. In this way, the bodily awareness becomes an anchor for calmness and clarity, even when it gets stormy in the head again.
Solving blocked emotions
Full attention to the body in meditative states can lead to a sudden release of emotions, through which pictures or feelings arise, that create invisible excitements. The reprocessing of depressed or dissociated emotions can be extremely uncomfortable. Thus, the liberation goes hand in hand with the dissolution of tensions, that are responsible for a large parts of our suffering – and even world views. Emotions are characterised by neural and physical reactions, subjective feelings and cognitions related to these feelings. They motivate thoughts and actions, even when they are captured in the body. (Pleas see the articles on the many ways into Trauma or Constellation Work on why this might happen). Thats why we have to release them. Feeling them without fear or any mind perception is often is the best way out of turmoil and struggle. With meditation we get an opportunity to identify and feel and release these emotions, without having to flee/ act.
You are safe in the here and now. Take a deep breath and trust that the pieces of the puzzle will connect and that something new and good will emerge – piece by piece. Breath creates space. With its targeted guidance in the tense areas, we support the natural solution.
We can not do more than surrender to it. Letting go helps to get out of the spirals of thoughts and feelings and to follow the natural impulses of the body more clearly, also and especially in more difficult situations of everyday life. Inwardly, the certainty that the body is wiser than the human mind, which is always looking for new ways out and reassuring itself, but also always limited and limiting, will mature.
See your thoughts before they grow. Their patterns and their needs.
Through the connection with the now, a new atmosphere of empathy and compassion can be felt for what is. It becomes more and more noticeable with joy for the small things in life and the love for other living beings.
Perhaps at some point the reactions or thoughts no longer need reassurance for their content. This is the point at which the personality becomes visible as a simple construction. Empathy and compassion promote the growth of a presence through which feelings or thoughts triggered by self related emotions (like guilt or mistakes) may appear as ironic error of the protective constructions themselves.
Mindfulness: A Brief Introduction
Mindfulness is broadly referred to as mindfulness in thinking and acting . Mindfulness that helps you to become calmer and more concentrated. In a narrower sense, the term is also referred to a sitting meditation from the Buddhist tradition, which training the above-mentioned anchoring for body and mind.
John Kabatt Zinn developed a program in the early 1980s that has become very successful and was confirmed for its effectiveness by many studies to be directly helpful in stress reduction (MBSR), in cognitive therapy (MBCT) or in training for compassion1. These training programs, which are popular today, are also referred to the term mindfulness in a broader sense.
Its central element of course again is meditation, which seeks a different approach depending on the focus of the program. A further part are exercises that help to promote mindfulness in our everyday lives and in situations. E.g.
- Mindful breathing
- Mindful walking
- Mindful eating
- Mindful listening and speaking
The mindfulness trainings according to Kabatt-Zinn take place successfully in groups. Many institutions offer courses that can take place on site or virtually. The exchange motivates and enables you to better understand your own process through the perspectives of others.
Mindfulness states and psychedelics
The effects of hallucinogenic substances in the discovery of the self give a symptomatic head start. In a double-blind study2, for example, Psylocibin was tested in a meditative setting with a group of people who have been meditating for decades. The proportion of subjects with psylocibin reported a rapid acceleration of the process of meditative experience and deepening. The effect on consciousness is reported in the article on psychedelics. Experience can also lead to the so-called breakthrough in therapy for resistant patients. Unfortunately, the connections discussed above don’t always stay anchored. In addition, it must of course be said that the pseudo-hallucinogenic effects can be perceived as threatening and dangerous, especially in unstable patients (keyword bad trip). The therapy is only recommended under certain conditions.
Substance-free meditation, on the other hand, has no side effects (in the conventional sense). The integration of experiences gets the time it takes. She permeates all other areas of everyday life steadily and carefully with practice.
The release of emotions and tensions is followed by a realignment (re-alignment) of the levels in the body. In other words, if the mind is organised, the emotions and the forces of the body are also reorganised. Meditation makes this healing process visible and palpable as growth in a one-directionality that is clear and tidy, fearless and with integrity – or, in the best sense of the word, authentic, even if it turns in a different direction tomorrow. In this way, the meditative silence becomes a source of creativity and creativity and the basis of true joy.
- see on this Kabat-Zinn; Full Catastrophe Living
- Smigielski et. Al .; psilocybin-assisted mindfulness training modulates self-consciousness and brain default mode network connectivity with lasting effects