I was just meditating. Recently started it, not regularly but I realize I really like it when I do it. I am using this guided meditation by Byron Katie called ‘you are supported’ or something like that.
One of the things that is different about it than other guided meditations I’ve tried is that while she is guiding you to focus on the breath, she also guides you to notice when you are caught in a thought/story and to give the story a name and an image, like a book cover, that encompasses the life of that story and then watch it as the thought goes away.
Doing this a few times, I am realizing that the thoughts that come and they are so frequent and so many of them are mostly self-deprecating. For example, I am focusing on the breath and then the thought comes that “you are not doing it right” or “this isn’t gonna work cause you are getting anxiety”, or an image comes up about a post I put up on instagram and how no one commented and the thought will be “it was bad” or “you are an idiot for posting these things”
And the guided meditation is guiding me to give the thoughts/story a name and an image and watch it as moves away and thank it for its life. So I give it a name like “you are stupid” or “fear” or “self-blame” and the image of a finger pointed at me or a face that is disgusted because that is the image that feels like it goes with the words.
And it is hard to thank it for its life. But I come back to the breath and just watch the book cover as it goes away and as I come back to the breath, the book cover is gone…. and….. whoops, here comes the next thought.
And after while, I see that I can indeed thank it for its life, because it is kind of funny how repetitive and mean and useless the thoughts are. They come and then they just go and the next one comes.
And once I am getting relaxed with the breathing, a thought comes that “you should do more of this”, “you should do an all day meditation” or “you should tell so and so to do this meditation”. “She really could use it”, “gosh, she is so unconscious” and now the meanness is going towards someone else, the “shoulds”. And I watch that too and do the same thing.
And after while of watching all of this and having it come and go and I am just sitting there breathing, I realize why they say in mindfulness classes or books of Eckhart tole or other mystics, that your thoughts are not you. It makes sense. I am not asking for them to come. I am not deciding to think these thoughts. I am not thinking them. I am being thought, passively.
I certainly see that passive thinking (which is essentially what happens majority of my waking hours), is mostly mean and unhelpful and doesn’t make me enjoy life or be a better person in any shape or form.
No wonder they say the line between sanity and madness is a fine line. One of the features of obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental health issues is intrusive thoughts. But in reality, who doesn’t have intrusive thoughts?
I read somewhere, maybe it was Eckhart Tole saying “Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness”.
It is easy for me to hate on the mind, on these thoughts. I don’t want them. I don’t want to hear mean thoughts. But I’ve certainly come to realize hating on anything won’t make it go away. Byron Katie says “I love my thoughts, but I don’t believe them”. She says these thoughts are like little children.
And when you think about it, the meanness is learned. We have learned that if you are mean or hate on something, you are not accepting it and asking for it to change. So we hate in hopes that it will change.
I have no solution really here, but to tell you, whoever is reading this, that you are not alone if you have super mean thoughts. You are not alone in wanting to get rid of them.
I am working on noticing them, not believe them, questioning them, and working on loving them as a mother would love its unruly child that yells and says “I hate you” because it sees that the kid is just confused. Amen to the day that I can keep calm and not be so rattled by my children…. actually put more correctly, the children.
ps. The featured image for this post is a snippet of a big, amazing painting done by my sister of me mediating, which she gifted me for my 40th birthday. I so so love this painting. The monster mind was added by me 🙂