Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mind Games

I often say that I sometimes consider meditation to be a mind game. It's a game of getting your mind to do what you want, or in some cases, to do nothing at all. It's about controlling and about letting go. I am also not above trickery, especially when it comes to my own mind and the rampant thoughts therein.

Your mind has somewhere up to 60,000 thoughts a day. Many of those are mundane, repetitive and, let's face it, annoying. "Where did I leave my keys?" "Why hasn't he called yet." "Wow those are ugly pants." Did I mention repetitive? I think I thought, "it sure is hot today" about 40 times today. Meditation is a game of eliminating some of that repetition and focusing some of those other straying thoughts.

Have you ever been stuck in what I call the "spiral of negativity"? Those thoughts that feed off of one negative thought or bad event and the next thing you know the world is coming to an end (at least in your mind)? Meditation is a game of catching that first thought and turning it over. It's redirecting and finding something positive to focus on instead. It's pulling you out of the spiral.

Our thoughts are a melange of dwelling on feelings, revisiting the past, fear of forgetting, worrying about the future and anger over everything and nothing. Our thoughts are everything and for most of us, they're out of control. The problem is that we don't always realize how out of control they are and the possibilities that exist for gaining control. Meditation is control. It is a practice in which you slowly take back your thoughts and choose consciously what you want to think, and how you want to feel. Control is not always a pulling in process, sometimes control means letting go too.

Many people tell me they can't meditate because they "can't stop my mind". My response is that you probably don't want to stop your mind, you just want to get it under control a little bit (or maybe a lot). Meditation is for everyone and everyone has the capacity and capability to do it. Just start somewhere. Sit quietly. Hear your thoughts for even just a moment. Awareness is the first step.