Meditation is all about controlling your mind. In my last post, I talked about the differences between thoughts and emotions, but also how they are related to each other, and how thoughts can cause you to feel certain emotions. I said that in order to change the way you feel, you must first change the way you think. That is why meditation is so helpful for depression. Changing the way that you think, and learning to control your thoughts, are easier said than done. Meditation can teach you how to control your mind, which in turn will teach you how to change the way you think, thus changing your emotional state.
When you are constantly thinking a negative thought about yourself over and over again, are you realizing that you are doing this, or are you just obsessing on the thought? If all day you just keeping thinking, “I’m a loser, I hate myself, I hate my life, I can’t win, I’m stupid, I’m ugly,” then over course you are going to be depressed. But how can you stop this vicious cycle if you are not even aware of it? How often do you actually stop and say to yourself, “Huh… for the past hour all I’ve done is thought negative thoughts,”? Do you ever have that realization, that moment when you just snap out of it and actually notice what you are doing?
We all have an inner dialogue going on in our heads, but we’re never taught how to ignore it or remove ourselves from it. You think you are the voice in your head, and so you listen to it; but you are not just the voice in your head. The voice in your head is only one aspect of who you are, and it can be switched on or off at any time.
Suppose you are sitting on a park bench, and in front of you there is a lake. On the lake, their are ducks and geese, and people on boats, and all sorts of things happening… But, are you paying attention to the lake, or are you talking to yourself in your head? If you are talking to yourself in your head, but you want to stop, all you have to do is notice the lake. Just stop talking to yourself for one moment, and look at what’s happening on the lake. If you’re talking to yourself but you don’t like the the things you’re saying, just change the topic.
These things can be done, and it really is that simple, but it takes practice. Meditation is the way in which we practice developing these abilities in our minds.
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