I used to think that powerful meditation techniques would involve years of contemplation while sitting in the lotus posture at a monastery. I tried to circumvent this belief by reading esoteric meditation books that told me to “observe the observer” and other sayings that left me in a state that was much less than meditative…it was very frustrating.
Why would I want to learn observation? I ferociously practice personal development so I can live better, not be on the sidelines observing things!
Fortunately, I found some meditation techniques that spoke to me and provided me with immediate tangible benefits in my quality of life. Over time my meditation practices led me to …wait for it…start observing myself.
Being able to observe myself, as close as possible to the present moment as my consciousness can hold, is probably one of the greatest gifts meditation could ever give me. I’d like to share a very practical example on how this works and why you might want to learn how to meditate as well.
This Saturday my wife picked up our suv from the auto body shop. She had got in a wreck and the whole back side got smacked, so we got a new bumper, new chrome, and the rear of the truck looked brand new. Who doesn’t love a brand new rear end?
She drives it home and I jump in the truck immediately to go pick up someone from the airport. I go 3/4s of a mile and Bam! Someone sideswipes me and blasts in the passenger front door.
Excluding the return trip from the auto body shop, the truck had been in our possession for 3 minutes. And it was all banged up again. Once I realized neither I nor the other driver was hurt, I found it to be hilarious. I called my wife and I was laughing as I told her. I felt like life is funnier than make believe– if I saw a sitcom where someone got their car wrecked immediately after getting it fixed, I would roll my eyes and change the station. It doesn’t seem like it could actually happen.
When I told friends this weekend about the accident, the responses included “Oh, that’s terrible!”, “I’m so sorry!”, and my favorite response “Boy, you guys really have some bad luck!”. It wouldn’t seem like a favorite response, but that quote got me thinking.
Why didn’t this car accident ruin my weekend, or at least make me walk around all ticked off?
A common process in life is an action happens, thoughts come bubbling up, the thoughts trigger an emotional reaction, the emotional reaction triggers a chemical reaction, you feel a certain way, and then you act accordingly. This cycle can create a slippery path that causes you to feel certain ways that you don’t want to.
I personally don’t like to feel sad, mad, anxious, irritated, and a host of other emotions. I just don’t like them. I used to think that outside acts made me feel a certain way. I was ignorant. Over time you can learn to interrupt the action->thought->emotion->feeling cycle so that you can still feel emotions but then choose to either keep feeling the emotion if it’s a good one, or change your thinking if you don’t like the way you feel.
The way I learned how to do this was with meditation. Meditation gives me an improved internal quality of awareness. By quality, I don’t mean that I am better on the inside. I mean that I am sometimes able to be aware of what I am thinking and how that is contributing to what I am experiencing.
Looking at my truck accident this Saturday, I could have held on to some very negative thoughts about the accident.
“This is terrible!” – I start thinking that, then I am in a worse mood than I was earlier, perhaps my angry demeanor causes me to step out in front of traffic unknowingly while I am engrossed in my anger.
“I have such bad luck” – Nothing good can come from walking around bemoaning your bad luck. If you believe in the law of attraction as I do, you are going to receive bad luck. If you think the law of attraction is a load of crap, you are still thinking something that is self-deprecating and won’t do any favors to your mental health.
With meditation’s ability to create the internal observer, when the accident happened, I still had an initial reaction of “oh man, that idiot just drilled the side of my truck”.
But then the initial conditioned emotional response washed away. I wasn’t attached to maintaining a particular point of view about the accident, and just realized that yes, I got hit. These things happen.
I have a great weekend plans. Let’s get this traffic experience over with so I can continue them. And I did.
I imagine you are reading my meditation blog because you are looking to develop yourselves personally. Learning meditation has helped me in every level of my soul, from turning traffic accidents into comedic relief, to finding a way to access the divine spirit within. I urge you to look into it further and hope I can be of some assistance.
Webriepsiffenon March 10, 2011 Reply
But I try to steal other moments. Sometimes I get up very early in the morning and enjoy a quiet house and cup of tea before the craziness begins. Other times, I’ll take a quick walk on the beach. You can find peace in a few minutes.
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