People often meditate with the goal of quieting the mind. Despite our best efforts, a wide array of thoughts, imagery and other distractions intrude upon our consciousness. We often find ourselves thinking about what’s happening at work, concerns about friends, family members and other people with whom we interact or what we’re having for dinner tonight. Feelings of confusion, fear, anxiety, grief and other unprocessed emotions may also surface at times when we sit down to meditate. We may assume that we’re doing something wrong when that happens. People sometimes become frustrated and give up for that reason.
Some people do manage to find a quiet space within by pushing the intrusive thoughts, feelings and imagery out of their awareness. The problem with this approach is that the inner turbulence gets pushed down into the body where it continues to operate outside of our conscious awareness. The danger here is that it can create a greater disconnect between our conscious mind and our feelings and physical bodies.
Many people do use meditation to avoid their feelings and escape from their lives. My goal has been to use meditation to help me feel more deeply and become more involved in life.
All kinds of scattered and distracting thoughts, feelings and energies can surface when I sit down to meditate. It didn’t take me long to realize that any attempt to resist this content was futile. Instead of fighting or resisting the noise I needed to learn how to work constructively with it.
I often find myself consumed by conflicted thoughts and feelings pertaining to the never ending stream of people, situations and circumstances I find myself dealing with. I sometimes experience a sense of scatteredness or feel as though I’m being pulled in all directions. The internal noise and other distractions sometimes causes me to feel as if I’m on sensory overload. In some instances I feel a sense of agitation that makes it difficult to sit still.
Many of the thoughts and images that intrude upon our consciousness are driven by charged emotion and other stresses held within the body. I have found it helpful to ask myself “What are the deepest feelings behind all these thoughts and images. I notice where the feelings are located within my body. I’ll then begin to breathe softly and deeply while centering my awareness within the middle of any feelings or bodily sensations that arise. Fears, anxieties, frustrations, anger, disappointment and a wide array of other feelings can surface in the process. Pleasant feelings will also surface at times. I will often experience a whole succession of feeling as I continue to breathe.
Breathing with our awareness centered in the midst of feelings and bodily sensations as they arise can be a powerful form of meditation. Following the progression of feeling and sensation leads us further into the depth of our minds. I’ll continue to follow the feelings by breathing into them until they run their natural course. At other times I’ll breathe while immersing my awareness in the feelings of agitation, scatteredness or that I’m being pulled in all directions.
The mental – emotional – energetic clutter we carry around on the inside of us takes up a lot of bandwidth and consumes tremendous amounts of valuable energy. It also deadens our consciousness. Breathing into the feelings, bodily sensations and energies helps me to declutter my body – mind by enabling me to digest the internal static.
The body – mind works much more efficiently as we free it from the internal noise. I become progressively calmer and more relaxed as I continue to work with this practice. I find it easier to work through feelings that arise and bring issues to a place of resolution. That gives me a clearer sense of direction and improves my decision making capability. I feel a greater sense of grounding, centeredness and connection to my internal core. My intuition grows stronger along with my awareness of myself and my immediate surroundings. This process also stimulates my creativity, giving me all kinds of creative insights and workable solutions to life’s challenges.
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Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.