Quieting the Mind

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Quiet MindPeople 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.

©Copyright 2014 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

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.

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Finding the Source of Nourishment Within

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Pasha began to open up to me one day about the profound sense of emptiness she feels on the inside “…I often feel scared and restless, feeling as though I have to reach outside of myself for something in order to survive. I can’t explain what is it that I’m looking for, but I’m constantly searching and that creates a lot of stress and distraction in my life. I’m trying to find these moments of joy and happiness that prove to be elusive. I manage to grab onto them at times, but they never truly satisfy me. I always find myself wanting more, but more is either not available or never enough.”

I responded by saying “I wasn’t very conscious of my body until the trauma of my childhood and adolescence began to make its way to the surface during my mid to late twenties. Lots of things didn’t seem to be working in my life at that time. I was struggling to survive financially and my relationships were reflecting the traumas of my early life. And that was evoking lots of painful feelings.

Most people find a way to numb themselves or disconnect from the painful feelings. Escape routes never seemed to work for me. I found myself consumed by debilitating pain that was so intense and feared that I could go over the edge. I had an intuitive sense that I needed to breathe into the painful feelings.

I taught myself to go down into the middle of the feelings that arose during those times when my life didn’t seem to be working. I just kept breathing into the feelings and I continued to follow them as they went through their progression. The initial stages of the process were sometimes very difficult, but the discomfort would either break apart and come out of my body in waves, dissolve or dissipate. The process could take minutes, hours and sometimes even days, but I would keep breathing until I eventually came out the other side. I began to realize that no matter how intense or extreme the feelings became, that I would still be okay.

Pain became a doorway during those times in my life when nothing seemed to be working. The pain was excruciating, but at a certain point I could feel something breaking open. I would then feel these emanations flowing from within in the form of a warmth, vibration or tingling sensations. These emanations had a very nourishing and sustaining quality. I began to feel connected to something greater than myself as this presence grew stronger filling my entire body. At times I felt as though I had tapped into an eternal presence.

My sense of connectedness grew as I continued to work with this practice. Over time I began to feel this presence with me at all times. This presence became noticeably stronger when I began to work with this practice consistently.”

Does it really matter what we achieve?

Pasha then asked me if it really mattered what we achieved in this life.

“It’s important for us to find a balance. We’re living here in physical bodies on this planet and we all strive to meet basic needs for comfort and security. We need to be engaged with the world around us and to have some sense of purpose or direction. The things that we achieve in this world that are connected to the expression of our authentic selves facilitate growth and personal development.

We want to enjoy a certain quality of life and to some extent we are dependent upon others to meet our needs. And yet other people and our circumstances do not always work to our advantage. Even when they do, there are limits to the enjoyment or satisfaction we can derive through others.

Most of us are not with the love of our life. Our relationships are often not working the way we want them to. We may struggle financially. And we may encounter all kinds of hardships and difficulties along the way. Everyone and everything in this material world is transitory. Our bodies break down, we age and eventually die. Every one we ever know or love will leave or die. Everything that we build will eventually come down. Nothing will last forever. The only thing we have that continues is our own connection to the source.

We experience feelings of hurt, grief, loss, fear, anger and disappointment in response to the setbacks and losses we incur. Learning to “digest” our feelings enables us to maintain a healthy form of detachment. That will enable us to derive grater enjoyment from what we experience along the way.

We can learn to make a practice of taking whatever happens in our lives and using it as fuel for growth. Breathing into the feelings that surface when things do not seem to be going our way makes it easier for us to let go of what’s now working. We will become more receptive to new opportunities that come along. We will experience more peace within and find ourselves moved by a greater presence.”

Pasha was saying “I sometimes find it difficult to be fully engaged. I see other people working to their full capacity who are totally engaged in life. But with all that pain coming out I don’t feeling like doing much of anything.”

“The pain and stress held within often cause us to shut down or contract in ways that make it difficult for us to function. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything during the more difficult stages of the healing process. The sense of heaviness gradually became lighter as we continued to take the steps necessary to facilitate healing. The source of nourishment flowing from within creates the momentum that gives us a clearer sense of purpose and direction and compels us to be fully engaged.”

Pasha then said “I’m experiencing a lot of painful sensations in the low back and pressure in my head. Will this healing presence began to awaken and will I derive some sense of nourishment if I keep breathing into the feelings and sensations in these parts of my body? How would breathing into the painful sensations connect me with this source of nourishment?”

“Unprocessed feelings and other stresses held within can situate themselves in various parts of our bodies. The pain and stress that we hold within has a very numbing or deadening effect. Whole portions of our body-mind consciousness shut down and we lose touch with the innate healing power that resides within.

It’s important for us to let down our resistance by fully opening up to any pain or discomfort. We need to center our awareness in the middle of the pain and other forms of discomfort lodged in various parts of our bodies. Breathing softly and deeply with our attention fully immersed in the feelings and sensations activates the innate healing intelligence residing within. This healing intelligence helps us to dissolve and then digest the pain and stress held within various parts of our bodies.

Breathing into our feelings and bodily sensations awakens that innate healing intelligence that resides within. It also opens doorways that and that makes it possible for us to connect with a presence greater than ourselves. This presence will nourish and sustain us. We can greatly accelerate this process by working with a powerful healer.”

Pasha then asked me “What about people who are not going through a lot of pain? How can they connect to this presence within?”

I responded by saying “We all encounter adversity somewhere along the way. We may experience emptiness or boredom. We worry about our health, our financial security and the people who matter to us. We experience grief when the people we love and care about are no longer a part of our lives. We struggle to know what direction to go and feel unfulfilled in different aspects of our lives.

Breathing into the feelings and sensations that arise awakens the greater healing intelligence residing within. This will enable us to digest the stresses, connect to the authentic core residing within and tap into a greater presence.”

©Copyright 2013 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. The practices he teaches and individual healing sessions will enable you to heal and find the source of nourishment within. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.