I was contemplating the process of observing thoughts during meditation, how trains of thought can take us for a ride that we seemingly can’t get off. It’s not until we take the time to observe the mind like this that we identify that this is how we think. All. Day. Long.
Is it any wonder with a background of mental chatter sounding like Grand Central Station that we can feel so over whelmed with stress. Even long after that annoying interaction at work or random confrontation has taken place we are at war in our own heads replaying the argument and trying to come up with clever come backs or reasoning to support our case.
Even worse than that is the fact that we are taking these dissonant disturbances and using them as the basis of how we act in the world and how we interact with each other. So as I reflect upon this as a daily practitioner of meditation I thought it interesting in how meditation first gave me the space to be witness to these patterns of thought and decide how I relate to the thoughts, it has also led to more awareness of the state of the body.
Because it’s not always easy to discern fear thinking from creative thinking it’s a game changer to be able to witness the thoughts and cross reference that with the state of the body to make sure my “brilliant” ideas aren’t streaming out of a pipeline of anxiety, fear, with an underlying theme of control. And while it would seem obvious to be checking in with the body like this, it’s remarkable how quickly we can lose awareness of one or more area’s of concern when we are having a stress response and even mild anxiety can cause us to get out of body and become cheerleaders for bad ideas.
So the practice of Meditation has enabled me to be a witness to my thoughts, connected me back into my body and expanded my awareness to be able to stay open to a wider range of variables even in the times of duress. The flow on effect of this is where there was once anxiety, self doubt and fear is a more stable calmness that comes with me through out most of my day- there is always room for refinement.
So after all this time and all of the meditations I’m not exempt from the thinking train taking me for a ride. But as I was contemplating the process of Observing thoughts I realized that the train might still be doing the rounds but now it’s contents are vastly different. No longer are the majority of thoughts self-deprecating, self doubting or irrelevant fear based ramble but they have gradually become more coherent, more life supporting and more creative.