"If we never slow down, we never let anything
important have a chance to catch up to us."
Many problems in our lives develop because we unconsciously fall into self-sabotaging grooves.
We "overlearn" certain lessons and ways of thinking or reacting to life's incidents. Those ways of
acting probably originally worked to some degree at one point in our life. So we continued them.
But because we tend to get lazy or want to take the path of least resistance, we can tend to adopt
that one way as almost the only approach we use whenever we face similar problems. But life is
varied and changing, and one solution doesn't work for everything.
Our problems increase when a "solution" we've grown attached to
doesn't really solve the problem,
but does temporarily make us feel better by taking our mind away from our discomfort or problem.
So we kid ourselves into thinking it's solved. But life doesn't let us off the hook so easily; if it has
handed us a type of problem to solve more than once, it inevitably keeps coming back to tell us we
have to solve it. If we stay stuck in the groove of the overlearned response pattern, we keep repeat-
ing the same old "solution" which doesn't work, so the problems keep coming back and piling up.
The build-up of problems stirs up and scares the insecure parts in us, which then act up and flail at
us to get us to wake up and really fix the problem rather than just try to make ourself feel good. But
those flailings can feel to us like they're adding to our burden and trying to undermine or sabotage us
from feeling good. So we tend to become even more attached to what we learned makes us feel good
with an even greater tendency to stick to it.
In order to get out of that vicious circle pattern, we have to understand better
how we're doing
things that perpetuate the problem, and find other, better ways of reacting that will really solve it.
That's where Directed Meditation can help because it helps us get outside our overlearned grooves.
When a part of us acts up and sabotages us, it's doing that in order to get our
attention. When that
happens, it helps to engage that part in a dialogue and ask it what it's trying to tell us by acting up,
instead of trying to ignore it and thereby causing it to feel it has to sabotage us ever more and more
in order to get us to pay attention to them.
The word "meditate" means "to dwell upon." Because the
conscious mind can only do one thing at
a time, we can "occupy" our conscious minds by setting it to the task of dwelling upon one thing,
which blocks it from falling back into thinking in its accustomed way. Then we can listen to our sub-
conscious respository of all of our past experiences, thoughts and feelings to find a better solution.
To meditate, sit quietly with your eyes closed, pay attention to your breathing
and simply repeat the word
"slower" during each exhale. Breathe slowly and deeply, repeating the word softly in a whisper to yourself.
Stretch it out to fill out each exhale. Try to say the word in a sort of rhythmical pattern. That keeps you
focused and works as a signal if you start to drift off. As you do this, make each breath become longer and
deeper, and stretch the word out for the entire length of each exhale, so that it becomes "slooooooower,"
and then "slooooooooooooweerrrr," etc.
We can "direct" our meditation to hear the parts of us that reside in
our subconscious, i.e., that we aren't
normally conscious of, by writing down a question before we start meditating and then listening for the
responses that float up while our conscious mind is occupied during the meditation. We can direct our
meditation to any question we would like to consider.
One way to use directed meditation to learn how to overcome your self-sabotaging
side, is make a list
of the areas or behaviors where you would like to do better, i.e., any actions, thoughts or emotions you
consider self-defeating or self-sabotaging. Before you begin meditating, take the list and ask yourself,
"What happened yesterday?" in each of these areas. Then as you meditate, reflect on what all happened
and grade yourself on how well you've done in the last 24 hours in each of the areas you want to improve.
For any less-than-satisfactory grade, take a sheet of paper (or sit at a screen) and write a question at the top
asking that part of you that got you to do a thing that you wish you hadn't done, "What all are you trying
to say to me by causing that to happen?" Then as you meditate, listen for and write down whatever you hear
in response to that question.
As you do this, youll move from a conscious, spoken level of activity onto
deeper, subtler levels where your
mind becomes quieter and more receptive to the messages in your subconscious.
If you notice your mind wander, simply patiently bring it back to meditating by saying the word a bit more loudly.
Escalate to whatever loudness you need to regain control over your thoughts. Then diminish it again, repeating it
ever more softly and quietly, and keeping your eyes closed (except when you're writing something down).
As you do this, occasionally re-read or remind yourself of your question, and keep a mental ear cocked for
any answers that float up, and write those down on the page. Also write down any seemingly irrelevant things
that float up in your mind so that they don't preoccupy you. As soon as you've written down each thought,
just close your eyes again and return to meditating and listen for the next thing that floats up (whether or not
it's in answer to your question) and write that down.
When you feel you've heard all that that part is trying to say to you, continue meditating for another moment
more. Then if you had some other area of self-sabotage, again ask yourself, "What happened yesterday?" and
"What all is it trying to say?" When you're done, then open your eyes and end your meditation with a big
cat-like stretch to release the energy that's been unleashed while you were meditating.
You might also want to check "Life as a Dialogue" by clicking to that section on the MAGIC NUGGETS page.
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