Meditate This Way

Meditation is a tool that I try to use with most all of my clients. Many clients believe that meditation is for controlling your thoughts. A way to be able to think about nothing. To clear your mind. Most of these beliefs, however, are false. Meditation is about learning to be mindful, to be calm, in the midst of your thoughts and emotions and to not get stuck in them.

Headspace is an app I have used for several years now for guided meditation with clients and for myself. The main goal of this particular meditation app is to help you train your mind to see thoughts, become aware of them, notice how they make you feel, and then to let them pass through your mind instead of taking up residence in it. Not thinking is never the goal. Not feeling is never the goal. It is to think and feel without allowing those thoughts and emotions to control you. You control them and by doing so, you can let them go.

Many people view their thoughts as something their brain is telling them. The brain only tells you what you have put in. Human brains are like very powerful computers and like all computers brains digest and spit out what you put into them. Your brain did not on it’s own start thinking negative things about you. It did not start believing these things by itself. You told it to do so and so it did. You repeatedly told it what you believe about yourself, your life, your relationships and it believes you and then works to make these things all true because they must be true – you said they were.

These millions of thoughts that are input and then become stuck are what we allow to control how we think and feel every moment of every day. Meditation is about taking control over those thoughts and not allowing them to be stuck. Imagine that whatever thought you are thinking at the moment is in a cloud. See it, become aware of it. However, just like clouds that you have watched millions of times, they never remain in the same place, ever. They come and they go. Imagine your thought cloud coming and then going and when it is gone it is gone. Say to yourself, I am having the thought that (insert thought here) and I am letting this thought go. And when it leaves return your focus to your breathing and only your breathing. Next thought comes and we do the same thing again. We are in control of our thoughts. It just takes practice.

The second piece of resistance clients can have is stating they have no time for meditation. Do you spend 10 minutes a day just scrolling through your phone or online just scrolling, not really doing anything of consequence? Do you have 10 minutes before you fall asleep that you are just lying in bed with your thoughts? If you do, you have time to meditate. It doesn’t take hours, just a few minutes to begin to take control over your thoughts and to stop letting them control you.

Remember, the goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts and emotions but to become more aware of them, to learn how to move through them without getting stuck.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you think counseling could help you learn how to control your thoughts and emotions, set up a FREE initial consultation with me by calling 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or visit Mindful Montana Wellness on Facebook and click the Book Now button.

Advertisements

Comfort of the Familiar

Mindful Montana Wellness, LLC Professional Counseling Services Blog

Humans are content to remain in the comfort of the familiar. They dislike change. They dislike the unknown. They fear letting go of what they know. They fear letting go of what they are used to. Where they live their lives.

If you let go of the things that have taken up residence in your minds, in your hearts, in your emotions, what then takes the place of that? If you let go of negative things that you have built your life around, what comes next? Something worse or something better? The truth is, until you let go of the things you are familiar with, you will never know what waits for you. You will make assumptions about what it is, and they will take the form you choose, negative or positive, but the truth is not discovered until you let go of what has become comfortable. What is familiar. What you have decided to live with, blame yourself for, hurt over, be sad over, be stuck in.

How do we gain the strength to venture into the discomfort of the unfamiliar? By peeling off the layers of the familiar in which we live. Years spent in adding more and more to what we are comfortable with, what we allow ourselves to wallow in, what we choose to feel every day, what we never stop thinking about. How do we undo this damage? One layer at a time.

In my practice, I always have a worst first approach. If you cannot work through the worst thing first, you cannot get beyond anything that comes after. Everything else is informed by what happened first – what affects you most – what worst is for you. Everything else follows along after that, is added to that, is layered on to that. It is the hardest place to start and it is the most important for letting go, for learning lessons, and for moving on.

The comfort of the familiar is very difficult to change because it is frightening. The layers we have added provide a way to not look at the things that started us on the path we walk over and over day after day going nowhere. If we remove the layers, then we have to look at the truth and the truth is scary, difficult, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar.

Freedom is the only condition for happiness – letting go gives us happiness. If we truly desire to be free of events, thoughts, emotions that keep us stuck – we must let go – to move towards happiness.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you feel stuck in the comfort of the familiar of your past, perhaps counseling can help you find freedom. Call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or click the BOOK button on Facebook to schedule a FREE initial counseling consultation.

Let Go

Learning to let go can be one of the most difficult things humans attempt. We hold on to feelings and events and let them take over our minds. We give them a place to live and keep them alive. We continue to let them affect us long after the things that caused them are gone. The inability to let go causes us most of our daily anxiety, depression, anger, and suffering and we do it all to ourselves.

When I work with clients, I use the visual of clouds as a metaphor for letting go. Almost everyone has watched clouds moving in the sky. They never remain still. They are constantly coming and going and so it should be with the thoughts that come into our minds that we need to let go. See these thoughts as clouds, see the words of them on the clouds, see them come into your mind, and see them go out. When they go out, let them go, do not think on them further – they are gone. Let go of them. Replace them with clouds that say something positive instead, something uplifting, something freeing.

Another way to practice this is through meditation. Using meditation along with the visualization of the clouds reinforces letting go, reinforces concentrating your thoughts in a more positive, focused way. I use the meditation app Headspace with my clients. It is a free app that offers guided meditation that is easy to use and can help you retrain your mind to let go of things that negatively impact your daily life. Meditation allows you to also allow thoughts to come and go and practice improving that skill with daily mental exercise.

Most of the issues we face are caused by our inability to let go. Holding on to negative emotions and experiences builds up emotional and mental toxins in the body that come out as anxiety, depression, anger, and sometimes even physical illness. Bringing these things back day after day only reinforces these negative feelings. Learning to let go can free us of the weight of all we continue to carry that weighs us down on a daily basis. It’s like unpacking a suitcase we refuse to stop carrying. Imagine how much lighter you will feel if you let go of the weight.

Let go.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you feel you could use some help in learning how to let go of the things that weigh you down, please call to schedule a FREE initial consultation 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Control Yourself

In all of the universe there is only one thing any of us can control – ourselves. Our circle of control resides inside our skin bag and there alone. Any other belief that we can control anything else is a lie we tell ourselves to attempt to either make things easier or justify our actions.

Most of our lives are spent in the false belief that we can control other people, events, or emotions. We spend so much of our time and energy focused on how we can alter how other people behave or feel, change things that have happened or alter things that will happen. We rarely take the time to realize that our circle of control is again only that which is within ourselves. The belief that we can shape other people into what we want them to be is one of the main causes of our internal struggle that leads to anger, depression, anxiety, and frustration.

When the urge to control things outside of ourselves takes over, we must confront it with the acceptance that we cannot control anything but ourselves and our own reactions. We cannot change anyone else. We cannot change how they feel or how they behave. We can only control our reactions to what they do. Also remembering that nothing anyone does or says is about us – not taking anything personally.

It can be very difficult to master this letting go of control. Humans as a species are genetically wired to take control of any environment, dominate it, shape it to their needs, however we cannot control as much as we would like to believe. It can be very hard to let go of this idea of control and focus on only what we can do. We let our emotions drive us. We love someone, even when it is not good for us at times, and we want to change them so we can keep loving them, but they won’t change. We end up in a constant battle of knowing we cannot succeed and banging our head on the wall continually trying to make it into what we want. This only causes us more suffering, more frustration.

Control yourself. Two words. It sounds easy enough but it is in fact one of the hardest things to do. It takes work, it takes sacrifice, it takes practice to let go of the belief that we can control everything and everyone around us. If we can, we can minimize or even eliminate much of the pain and suffering we cause ourselves.

Control yourself – your emotions, your reactions.
Never take anything personally – nothing other people do or say is about you.
Let go of control – everything and everyone else outside of yourself.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you are feeling that you need help learning how to control yourself and let go of control of others, you can make an appointment for a FREE initial consultation by calling 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com