Categories: Gettin The Mind Right

Finding Imperfect Calm

Happy Monday!

Are you bad at being calm and meditating?

 

Before you answer, I invite you to consider what’s bad though?

 

Is it a busy mind? Or is it the inability to calm your mind?

 

Monks may not have busy minds but they are tucked away from the chaos of the world and meditate every day. If you did that, your mind wouldn’t be so busy, either.

 

A common misconception about meditation is that it requires us to stop our minds.

 

Do you really want your mind to stop? Think about what that means medically. Trust me, you want your mind to be working.

 

As an average busy person, our form of meditation should be to calm our minds—not to stop them.

 

Look at it like this: if your mind is that busy during your attempts to meditate—when you have shut off electronics and are in a quiet place—how busy do you think it is the rest of the time?

 

Here’s a hint —-> wayyyyy worse!

 

The difference is that you’re not PRESENT enough to notice because you’re in the thick of the grind.  You’re doing your best to keep your head above water, like everyone else.

 

Think of meditation as “peering behind the curtain.” When you meditate, by virtue of being there in the moment, you pull back the curtain and bring whatever thoughts are already there to the surface.

 

As thoughts come up, the key is not to react emotionally. See them, let them go–and refocus on your breathing.

 

Without regular meditation, your mind runs on an endless cycle that makes you react to what’s happening. In this way, you tend to look through the lens of your perceptions (which are self limiting in nature) and do not see what’s actually there.

 

The perceptive lens has no filter to what is actually real or actually important. So you get bombarded with all these unproductive thoughts that carry a heavy emotional toll. The more we have going on in our head, the more energy required to keep us from freaking out.

 

Meditation is all about balancing the dual components of our nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for the “fight or flight” response during any potential danger. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system inhibits the body from overworking and restores the body to a calm and composed state.

 

If we do not filter what is actually real and what actually matters to us, the mind will interpret everything as urgent and fires up the sympathetic nervous system, which puts you in a state of constant alert. Pre Covid-19 we spent way too much time in sympathetic energy mode–but now it’s worse then ever!

 

In the sympathetic mode, we overuse our secondary breathing muscles which causes neck, shoulder and arm pain and headaches. In this constant state of alertness, our cortisol levels are elevated which negatively impacts our ability to metabolize sugars and increases our tendency to store body fat. The imbalance from living this way also negatively impacts our immune system along with other major body systems.

 

How fortunate we are that meditation is a direct path to get into our parasympathetic mode. As you begin to meditate, you’ll find your mind stops wandering as much. You’ll see the things on the surface level that are bothering you. Then you can further investigate the root causes of those things and remove excessive (and unnecessary) baggage that has been weighing you down. The more you meditate, the more calm and balance is restored to your major body systems so they can function properly.

 

Ironically when you take the time to slow down, you actually create more time because you’re able to see things more clearly and objectively decide where best to spend your energy. You help restore calm to your mind AND your body.

 

Finding Your Imperfect Calm

 

  1. Remove any expectation of what meditation should be like
  2. Set a timer for however long you have–even 5 minutes work!
  3. Find a quiet, calm place and a comfortable position.
  4. Close your eyes and focus on slower, deliberate full breathing
  5. Allow yourself to fidget if you feel you need to in that moment, let it go and continue your breathing
  6. When a thought comes up, observe it without emotional attachment, let it pass and continue your breathing
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 and practice daily. Consistency–not “perfection”–is the goal!

 

Joe Carabase is an Entrepreneur, Coach and Author. Check out his latest book here. You can follow @joecarabase on Instagram and Facebook for more inspiring content! 

#meltmonday
#meltmindset

JC

ILLUSTRATION via: Facebook

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