Twenty or so years into meditation practice, I’m continually amazed by, flabbergasted by, and infatuated with the power of simply changing how thought is framed.
Default mode is to be led by and consumed in the mind’s churn of stories and commentary as if the mind produces pure FACTS. Meditation suggests an almost too-obvious alternative – to take a meta perspective and watch the stories and commentary as if they are features of nature, or even a TV show. There the stories are in their often non-sensical domino effect (“I’m a failure,” “I’ll never lose,” “I’ll never win”) and you don’t have to trust them or even BE them. They are just passing through like waves on the sea, clouds in the sky, pundits pontificating on CNN.
I suppose the most fascinating part of this is that the intellectual idea of this switch can be liberating when you read about it, but it doesn’t touch the feeling one gets when – while following the breath or doing your mantra or whatever – that shift is made viscerally, when awareness – almost like a cloud deciding to dissolve into sky – shifts out of default mode and decides to anchor itself in the moment and JUST BE awareness.
It’s just so cool. And what’s coolest about it is that it continues to work with the same power that it does at the beginning of meditation practice, but in new ways because the stories our minds churn out constantly change and the way we buy into them changes.
Thank you all you meditation teachers who have passed this down through millennia. It’s so great science is now discovering and embracing the benefits because they are real.
For more on this, check out my new book, All Our Waves Are Water.