Our thoughts and emotions can have a profound effect on how we see ourselves, how we feel and what actions we take about those thoughts and emotions. Our minds will automatically make meaning out of any tiny scrap of information, which enabled us to piece together the whole image before us. As the add new information the image will continue to change as our minds update what we already know. That is until any new information we receive no longer fits the overall image we have in our minds and we realise that we thought was happening, really wasn’t at all. However this is how our minds make sense of the world around us.
Our moods and our feelings colour our thoughts. The way we see things and the way we react to our thoughts are shaped by the mood or feeling we bring to the experience in the first place. Therefore if you are in a low mood then you will see any experience as negative. Whereas if you are in a high mood then the same experience would appear positive to you.
Michael Chaskalson states the following: ‘But meditation is not thought and through its process of quiet observation, new kinds of understanding can emerge, during meditation. You don’t need to fight with thoughts, suppress them or judge them. Rather you can simply choose not to follow thoughts once you become aware that they’ve arisen.’
For instance; right now, take a few minutes to focus on any thoughts that are arising. It is important that during meditation when thoughts arise that we do not judge them, or react to them. Although this may be difficult to begin with, with practise it becomes easier. ‘And if your attention wonders hundreds of times, just let it go hundreds of times.’
The practice for Week 6 is all about accepting the thoughts as they arrive and allowing them to be what they are. It is also about extending the amount of time that you practice for. If you have been following the shorter guided meditation then you should try and meditate for at least 20 minutes, and if you have been following the longer guided meditation then you should be aiming for about 40 minutes. However if you are not there yet, then do not panic, but continue to sit twice a day for as long as if feels natural to do so.
I have found in my personal experience that some days my practice struggles to be 5 minutes long and at other times i find that i have been sitting for 30 minutes or so.
Also this week if you have been using the guided meditations then try to practice in silence – or without guidance. You should add to your daily rituals, 3 ‘Pauses’ or ‘Breathing Spaces’ to your day.