Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


Meditation Made Simple: Seven Considerations to Get You Going :: Four: You Can’t Do It Wrong

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

One of the most frequent complaints I get from my meditation students is the concern that they can’t meditate because they can’t concentrate; can’t clear the thoughts, clutter, and commotion from their minds.

Relax. The goal of meditation is not clearing the mind of thoughts or making it a “blank slate” (at least not the way I teach meditation). The goal of meditation is not to relax. Imagine pressuring yourself to relax? How is that going to work out?

Relaxation is fairly reliable by-product of meditation, but it is not the primary goal. Just pay attention to what is happening now, without preconceptions, agendas, and conditions, and see how you feel. You just might feel relaxed.

Meditation is a process not a product. In fact, we ourselves are processes not products. And when we treat ourselves like products we’ll only be frustrated. Likewise, meditation is about paying attention to the process and since processes are neither good nor bad, whatever is happening now can be OK. There is a real opportunity here to “go with the flow” – the process of what is happening now.

If your thoughts are racing, notice racing thoughts. If you’re laden with regret or worry, notice regret or worry. You’re still meditating; you’re not doing it wrong! The difference is that you are aware of these things and with practice you can make choices about where your attention goes and get skilled at disentangling attention from stories that are distressing.

Meditation is not about attaining a special state; it’s about paying attention. It’s not about achievements or outcomes. Rather it’s about noticing whatever is happening without judging that as good or bad; without generating opinions about it. Relax the opinions and real relaxation may not be far behind.

 



Previous Posts

The Three C's of Self-Forgiveness
Imagine a situation where you "lose it." You get angry, your blood boils, you may yell at the person who has occasioned this anger or you may throw something or swear in vain. This feeling is no stranger to me. Sometimes, a situation catches us off guard and we react instead of meeting it with equan

posted 4:23:27pm Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Oliver Sacks Writes his Pre-Obituary
The neurologist and author Oliver Sacks recently wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times about his impending death and the light this news casts on his life. His reflections are the epitome of equanimity. What we hear from him is not anxiety, rancor, or regret but rather gratitude, love, and reso

posted 2:23:00pm Feb. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Getting Out of Our Own Way: Finding Liberation in the Moment
If you are like me, you spend more time than you would like caught up in imagined stories that don't feel good and keep you stuck. How can you get out of your own way and stop beating yourself up with regrets. My mind can sometimes get stuck and I'd be in big trouble if I didn't have a mindfulness p

posted 7:44:24pm Feb. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Living in the Present Moment of Clinical Work
There are a number of name brand mindfulness-based interventions for use in clinical work, starting with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in 1979. Since then, we’ve seen the emergence of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), Acceptance an

posted 10:38:43am Feb. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Happy Nirvana Day
Yesterday was Valentine's Day; today is Nirvana Day or Parinirvana Day. It is the day that celebrates the Buddha's death or his release into the final state of nirvana. A few years ago, in a post about Nirvana Day, I commented on the assumption regarding rebirth that this description requires. Today

posted 10:24:27am Feb. 15, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.