Why I tried meditation? Did it work, find out:
"When I looked around on the rug, there was a jungle of dirty clothes, leftover food, empty cereal boxes littering the floor, and my laptop sitting in the middle of all the filth.
I stumbled over a misplaced cushion lying on the floor. The house demanded cleaning and I struggled to fix the mess.
I pursed my lips to a cup of coffee and sipped. A source of caffeine was tepid and bitter - It reflected my state of mind.
Since the pandemic hit, I had confined myself in my flat. I camped on the bed. I dozed off on the couch or the lounge chair. I tried all available places in my two - room flat to get a better sleep, but no success.
I was scared to step out of the house to avoid exposure to the deadly corona virus. The outside world looked chaotic.
Confined inside the house with minimum social interactions and fear lingering in the head, my anxiety spiked.
A gloomy feeling draped and tied me. Those binge watching shows lost its flavour. News spewing fear and negativity amplified my uneasiness.
I wanted to hang out until late night, laugh, meet family and people in muscles and bones.
The oozing silence crept inside me, my mind clouded with dreadful thoughts, which I could not stop.
Glimpses of an uncertain future, economic downfall, and insecurities hounded me. I wanted to avoid negative thoughts ruining my day.
But I felt helpless. The fear of losing lives, job, loved ones enveloped inside of me.
Old memories invaded in. I wanted to numb them. I wanted to stop that chattering in my head.”
And then I made a conscious effort to fix it.
I observed my chaotic mind:
Thoughts swirl inside my head each day, and I keep delving them. Thoughts carrying emotions, worries, happiness, distress spur anxiousness inside me.
Then I came across an article on mindfulness the benefits of mindfulness, it sounded promising.
Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash
It said that “Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts” and could be used to increase awareness of self and surroundings.
The article suggested numerous benefits like it could help to reduce stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, enhance self-awareness, length
en attention span, and improve sleep, etc.
Benefits of meditation, looked promising, but I had questions:
· How to do it?
· Do I need to maintain certain posture?
· What about hips, won’t it ache?
· Won’t I get bored?
Finally, I plunged and followed the instructions:
1. Sit or lie comfortably.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Focus your attention on the breathing and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
4. Notice and observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly.
5. Simply focus your attention on your breathing without controlling its pace or intensity.
6. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breathing.
I sat cross-legged, placed my hands on knees, closed my eyes and breath quietly, hoping not to fall asleep.
I thought how difficult it could be to ask your mind to relax, avoid thinking and just focus on breathing.
But I didn’t know a simple task of sitting idle and focusing on the breathing could be so challenging.
Descending into silence and asking my mind to rest was like asking the swinging monkey to sit idle on a branch.
My mind wandered wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas, unharnessed and undisciplined emotions – bored, angry, depressed and anxious.
Look at the conversation I had in my head.
The conversation between me and mind when I started mediation looks like this:
I instructed my mind: OK, we’re going to meditate now. Let’s draw our attention to our breathing and focus.
Now me and my Jumping Mind (JM).
Me: Let’s start meditation.
My Mind: I will help you with this.
Me: OK, good, because I need your help. Let’s go.
My Mind: You focus on breathing and count numbers; I will try to warn the thoughts peeping inside.
Me: Oh, 1,2...
My Mind: Hey, wait, did you switch off the stove?
Me: Yes I did, 1, 2..
My Mind: Good, remember what is going to happen in the next episode of the series?
Me: Focus- 1, 2,..why J (my ex.) dumped me? All men are emotionless. Stop!!! Focus -1,2…
My Mind: Yes! Definitely!
Picture a nice scene like the one of your last vacation
Me: OK, but let’s MEDITATE now please
My Mind: Yes! Exactly! Perfect.
Let’s visualise this calm imagery—envision that you are walking on a beach and again …..why J dumped me !!
Wao! Here I was with a promising 10 second pause in thoughts.
My Mind: OOHH, are you mad at me now?
My journey to mindfulness:
The first session gave me 30 seconds of ‘Still’ period, but it got me one thing – "the awareness of my restless mind".
Surprisingly, I never noticed how my mind was wandering before. This awareness awakened me.
Now I could notice the thoughts creating anxiety and also the calming one.
Then I realised, that thoughts are not a problem - the problem is the emotional attachment that goes along with these thoughts.
My conscious awareness made me realise how these useless thoughts are occupying and baffling me.
Happy thoughts made me happy, but quickly I swung again into obsessive worry, gusting the mood.
Then my mind would decide, "it’s a good time to start feeling sorry for yourself," suddenly loneliness will cloak me.
The other problem with the wandering thoughts is that it never allows you to be where you are.
You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely in the moment.
Sitting down to be mindful made me realise how unaware I am of my own self.
What goes in my mind?
How emotions feel in the body.
How my body reacts to these emotions?
How my body responds to stress signals?
I read somewhere that ‘your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions’- I realised its correctness.
Bringing your awareness back in the moment seems to be perplexing when you live your life on auto-pilot, without being consciously aware of your own self.
Now with mindfulness practice, whenever I experience anxious thoughts, all I do is to let it pass and bring back my focus on the moment - I keep doing it.
I realised, I had surrounded myself with distractions and that’s why I had forgotten to connect within. Instead of fixing, I kept on avoiding my issues.
After all, listening to painful noise is harsh and running away seems easier.
It is said that the problem identified is half solved, we usually do not identify or acknowledge our problems.
We just run or dump them, creating chaos inside our soul.
This pandemic has muted the outside noise so I could hear my inside chaos.
Is mindfulness, working?
It is helping me to acknowledge, absolve or work on my troubled areas and I tell you it is working.
It is allowing me to connect with my true self, my core, mind and thoughts whether I like it or not. Addressing the issues is making me calmer day by day.
The future is uncertain, but mindfulness is helping me to sort out my own distortions and keep in check my thoughts pattern. Giving me a better control of self.
Now I am improving on being in the present moment and allowing distressing thoughts to flow away smoothly, reducing my stress level.
I have no control on external factors, but I am gaining control on my reaction to those unwanted happenings.
Nikita shared her journey of mindfulness. What about you guys. I am sure you must have something to add about your experience. Leave your thoughts in the comment below to share your views. We would love to hear from you and like, share and subscribe.
 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation  https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-and-a-beginner-s-how-to