Mindfulness and meditation is often a topic in my sessions. Many clients feel intimidated by the thought of meditating because they’ve never tried. Most of us have an unrealistic concept of what it means to meditate, thinking we must reach some unnatural level of consciousness and insight – and that we have to clear our minds of all thoughts.
There is no way to clear all thoughts – our thoughts are a natural part of each of us. We simply need to learn to slow them down and let them go. I’ve heard several people who are considered to be expert at meditation say that even they have difficulty quieting their minds at times.
There are many ways to meditate. None are the “right” way. Sometimes I use a guided meditation, other times I’ve visualized a scene that I find peaceful and use all my senses to make it feel as if I’m right there, enjoying it. I’ve learned that if I start my meditation by trying to achieve something in particular, I’ll be disappointed and frustrated. If I just close my eyes and try to sink into my surroundings, without any expectations, I usually have a much better experience. It serves to slow my life down for the rest of the day, and helps me feel peaceful, regardless of what is going on around me.
It also helps me to listen to or read something that inspires me just prior to meditating. Here are some excerpts from Eckhart Tolle’s book, STILLNESS SPEAKS that might help some understand what mindfulness is:
Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.
When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself. You connect with it at a very deep level. You feel a oneness with whatever you perceive in and through stillness. Feeling the oneness of yourself with all things is true love.
Any disturbing noise can be as helpful as silence. How? By dropping your inner resistance to the noise, by allowing it to be as it is, this acceptance also takes you into that realm of inner peace that is stillness.
Pay attention to the gap — the gap between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between words in a conversation, between the notes of a piano or flute, or the gap between the in-breath and out-breath.
When you pay attention to those gaps, awareness of “something” becomes — just awareness. . . .
True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.