Taming the Mad Monkey of your Mind
Hi and Welcome to Issue #033 of Devine Online!
How do you turn off that endless chatter in your mind that seems to go on forever? Many people seek happiness through outside sources – money, relationships and health are all important to some extent; yet none of these things bring any lasting happiness. So where can you turn when anger, depression and anxiety are reducing the quality of your life? Here are some reasons why meditation paves the path to internal peace.
I’ll be happy when...
The Buddhists believe that the cause of suffering is our attachment to our desires; simply put, we want it, we want it now, and if we don't get it, we get really annoyed. They say that the reason why most of us are so unhappy is because we are trying to find lasting happiness in all the wrong things.
Let’s say you land ‘the perfect’ job; This is the job you have always dreamt of, the one that will finally ‘make’ you happy. It pays exceptionally well, the hours are good and the people seem really nice. Whoopee!! You have FINALLY found the key to happiness!
Fast forward six months down the track; you have become accustomed to the new income. You have adjusted your lifestyle to accommodate your new income level, and then one day it happens; suddenly, what you have right now is not enough. The pay could be better, the people aren’t as great as they first seemed and so now you’ve now got your eye on that next ‘perfect’ job that will make you happy.
Can you see the problem here? The problem is that no matter what we have or what we achieve, we get used to it very quickly. We as humans are very adaptable, and this means that what initially may bring us pleasure and even happiness, may not continue to do so over time. Now, most people assume that there is something wrong with the ingredients (job, partner, income), yet it never occurs to them to alter the recipe.
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Changing the Recipe
What if it didn’t make any difference how much money we had or how much stuff we collected? To some degree, it doesn’t. The fact is, you are what you think. Your circumstances are what you make of them, and you always have a choice. The good news is that you have the potential to be happy or unhappy and the only person in charge of your fate is you.
Think about two passionate football fans attending a game and barracking for opposite teams. The game results can invoke two completely different reactions from each person. The person whose team has won is jumping for joy and shouting to through the rooftops; the other person is sobbing. The same circumstances, but completely different reactions.
Here lies the most important lesson. It is not our circumstances (the ingredients), that causes happiness or hardship, but the way we perceive those circumstances. Meditation is the key to switching that recipe. It helps you to clear your mind so that you can see things from a better perspective. Things that used to bother you become less important, and your outlook becomes positive and peaceful. It shows puts you in touch with your real self.
Taming your Mind
Quite simply, meditation is the art of sitting still and concentrating; you might choose to concentrate on your breathing, a candle flame or even a mantra. There are many great resources out there that show you how to meditate, so I won’t go into the techniques here. However, I would like to explain the difference between meditation and self-hypnosis.
When you are meditating, you are simply concentrating on one thing. Whenever your mind wanders off (and it will), your goal is to recognise this and bring your awareness back to whatever it is you were concentrating on. For example, you might choose to concentrate on your in and out breath, by counting each breath from one to ten. When your mind wanders, you must start that count again from the beginning.
Sound simple enough? Try it. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it is worth doing. As you practise, you will get better and better. Personally, I choose to count to four instead of ten, because I need lots of practise. This allows me to build up my meditation muscles. As I improve, I increase the count.
Now, when you are in a state of self-hypnosis, your mind is allowed to wander. So if you are working with me and I am making suggestions to you, you do not need to be concentrating on those suggestions in order for your subconscious mind to accept them. For this reason, I call hypnosis ‘the lazy-man’s meditation’.
So why meditate if it’s so hard? Well, the only thing I can say is try it and you will see why. Just 10 minutes a day will help you enormously. Don’t try to take on too much at once, or you’ll only get frustrated. Try five minutes once a day for two weeks. If your mind wanders, don’t beat yourself up. You’ll have good days and bad days, but you must stick with it.
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Benefits of Meditation
Why does it take so much effort to empty our minds? Part of the reason is because we have been conditioned for so long to listen to this internal chatter that it’s almost as though we’d be lost without it. Meditation is an activity that brings great peace and clarity to many people.
One of the most common mistakes people make is expecting too much too soon. Just like weight management, meditation is an activity that should be integrated into your lifestyle; that is something you do regularly, not just for a few weeks or months. If you buy a sophisticated home gym but continue to lie on the couch eating donuts, you will not get into shape. Similarly, knowing the theory of meditation is not enough. You have to practise regularly, persistently and patiently.
So what are some of the benefits? Well, a calmer mind, a positive outlook on life and better physical health are just a few. Studies have shown that people who have been meditating for five years of more have an average biological age that is 12 years lower than their chronological age. So the real question is, are there any reasons NOT to make meditation a part of your life? From where I’m standing, there are none; So make the commitment to yourself today!
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So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this issue of Success Express...have a great day!
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