Wednesday, October 8, 2008

thoughts & meditaion


I've been reading a lot about thoughts. Mostly Buddhist literature while I'm trying to understand what meditation is all about. (Seems like there are many concepts and opinions about meditation.)
I guess it's natural that I am becoming more aware of my thought stream. Aware of how chaotic, chopped up, random, those thoughts are. How the dark side seems to influence them.

For example, my addicted child complained of something yesterday. As I'm making my breakfast this morning, I find myself either looking for solutions to the problem or feeling resentful that those problems were shared with me. I needed to stop the thoughts and tell myself that the child has a problem and will solve it for themselves. period. I do not need to intervene. The child will not relapse because I did not help.

When I was drinking and porning and in very early recovery, I would create intense drama in my head that would allow me to feel self-pity and fear. I poured so much energy into that. Today, when I start to do that, I can put the brakes on, telling myself I don't have to travel that road, that I do have a choice where my thoughts take me. I am realizing that I don't have to believe my thoughts, that they are not to be trusted. My thoughts spent years coming up with ways that would justify my actions on the internet, would justify opening just one more bottle of wine. I would find ways to give myself permission, even if the permission was "I don't give a fuck what anyone else thinks."

Some how, working the steps, coming to meetings, working with others, developing my contact with my Higher Power, all seem to calm my mind, to change the patterns. I'm changing slowly. I am so thankful for that.

I used to think that meditation was the absence of thinking. A clear mind. A mind free of chaos. In AA literature, meditation is often described as listening to God, as prayer is talking to God.

If you could take a moment, could you describe what meditation means to you? I'm thinking that the meaning of meditation is tied into our concept of our Higher Power. The meaning is different for every person. Your thoughts, helpful links. They would be 'preciated.

Photo credit: deadoll

13 comments:

Patty said...

Meditation is just clearing my mind, being quiet, and yes listening to God. I like what you said about giving yourself permission, I can really relate to that. Love the pic of the kitty too!

Lou said...

Like you, I was thinking it meant NO thoughts. I cannot do that. Period.
To me now it means a quiet time with God. I never pray at those times, or ask for help. I am still & grateful, and appreciate that "I am a friend of God." I just let Him know how that has changed my life.

Kathy Lynne said...

To me meditation in the consent to God's presence. I practice Centering Prayer in which I use a Sacred Word to signify my intent. The word itself is not important its what it symbolizes. I sit quietly for 20 minutes, hopefully twice a day, and when thoughts emerge and I return to my sacred word to return to God. Thoughts do emerge the trick is not becoming engaged with them which can be hard to do especially if you haven't done your grocery shopping yet. So its not the absence of thought but to allow them to float by as though on a river. One nun said to Father Keating during a retreat on Centering Prayer , "Father I have failed. 1,000 thoughts entered my head." He said "you have not failed you had 1,000 opportunities to return to God."

Cat said...

Meditation is something I struggle with - I tried it several times but for me the sitting still part is the most difficult and when I can sit still the getting my mind to be quiet and still proves impossible. I will sit for about 15 minutes until i finally give up on the effort - I do this probobly about once a week - all because I had one particularly great expierence a year ago where I felt totally aware of who I was and where I was heading, I felt peace like I had never had before - and that is certainly a feeling to work at! Cat

PRAYER GIRL said...

For me prayer is talking to God and meditation is "listening" to God.

I can listen to God while being in nature. I can listen to God when very relaxed. I can listen to God when He is talking to me through someone else.

Mary LA said...

In most spiritual traditions, there are two kinds of meditation. The more receptive or passive meditation is essentially staying in the present moment and listening, paying attention to the breathing, quietening the mind.

The more active meditation is training the mind to focus on a mentra or scripture passage, stay with it and go deeper, again stilling the mind and paying attention.

My favourite quote is Dom Chapman saying 'Pray as you can, not as you can't'. The distraction do calm down in time.

Shadow said...

i struggle to meditate, because my mind can be such a ramble of disassociated thoughts... then i started this. sit at the computer, close my eyes and type in every thought as it pops into my head, for about 5 minutes, or until my fingers become real quiet... these thoughts are unedited, unread, full of mistakes, without 'thinking'. THEN i find i can actually sit down and find some quiet time since all distracting thoughts have been written and can't be forgotten...

Kathy Lynne said...

oh yeah, my blog sidebar has links to comtemplative outreach and a short video of Father Keathing explaining the method of Centering Prayer.

Kathy Lynne said...

That's a good book and was the first one I read as well though I didn't get through the whole thing. Open Heart, Open Mind by Thomas Keating is a good one too.

recoveryroad said...

" I would find ways to give myself permission, even if the permission was "I don't give a fuck what anyone else thinks." "

Yup. I was a master at that.

Great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Pam said...

For some reason I always tie meditation with smells.
I can not meditate in a room without a scent of some kind. I usually burn a smudge stick (fresh dried lavender or sage)...and I concentrate on the smell...that quiets my mind down. I think it's because one of my senses is so occupied (smell) that I can focus on just that and nothing else.

TraceyBaby said...

Paragraph #2 sounds like it came right out of my mouth.

Regarding meditation....I don't really do it much. I need to do it more. I like calming my mind enough to be able to listen to what my HP might be telling me.

Usually my mind is much too busy. And many of them are negative, unhelpful thoughts.

This is a good reminder for me tonight...

Sophie in the Moonlight said...

Meditation, pour moi, is a celebration of my life at that moment. that here and now. I celebrate and honor my breath. It never ceases to amaze me that the one thing that keeps me Alive, is the thing of which I spend most of my day completely unawares. So when I meditate, I concentrate on my breath. I say "this is my In breath. This is my Out breath." I send my breath to the parts of me that need to feel alive, that need to be healed. Whenever my mind wanders away, I go grab its hand as though it were a wayward child and tell it that we are going to sit here for a few moments. Won't it please stay with me? And so we sit together and no matter how many times I have to go get my thought's attention, every time we come back to our breath, we let the breath, the Life, know we are not taking it for granted.

P.S. Thich Nhat Hanh has a FANTASTIC CD called the Art of Mindful Living which has some wonderful meditations in it. He talks a lot about anxiety and fear. Go check it out.