I know many people find it difficult to create the time and space for traditional meditation as a form of self-care, because they are not sure if it is having any effects and it can be hard to find the motivation to continue. We will only make time for what we think is adding value to our lives. Experienced meditators often share that there is no way to measure the success of your meditation practice. The key is to do it regularly and you will find yourself becoming less reactive and having more peace of mind.
There will always be thoughts that enter your mind during meditation and the goal of meditation is not to be free of all thoughts. Gradually, you will be able to just observe and let these thoughts pass, rather than unconsciously letting the thought take you from point A to point B in less than a minute. In this condition, you always live in the past or future but never the present. It is impossible to find happiness in this state regardless of how ideal your external circumstances are. I think meditation is one of the best ways to learn more about the nature of your mind, and the impact of your thoughts on your beliefs, values, self-confidence, relationships and world outlook. You can listen to various inspirational talks but this guidance usually stays on an intellectual level because it is not experiential yet. Transformation comes from meditation born intuition and insight.
Another way to think of it is taking the right steps in getting to your intended destination. If you are planning a trip and your goal is to go to New York, you would not get the next plane to Los Angeles, just because there is a seat available and it is leaving faster. Instead, you would wait and get on the plane to New York. In the same way, there has to be a strong conscious intention to protect your thoughts because one thought quickly can lead to a chain of other self-critical, erroneous and judgmental thoughts.
Thoughts are precious, they create your reality. When you think positive thoughts, you are better able to cope with the adversities of life as they arise and enjoy the good circumstances of life as they are happening. When you allow yourself to fixate on negative thoughts, you are not able to enjoy your successes in the present, and you are less able to cope effectively with challenges as they arise. A regular meditation practice can assist in making you more aware of how to notice negative thoughts and then choose not to dwell on them, because you know where they will lead you, and it is not a place you want to be. In this way, you take more responsibility for co-creating your life the way you want it to be.
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