Meditation takes practice, mindfulness

in Health by

By Brittney Hiller 

I was having a wonderful conversation with my husband about meditation. 

We had just finished a game of Funglish and the conversation turned to thought control. He was having an issue in controlling his thoughts and felt as if they were taking control of him, instead. I suggested creating a meditation practice to assist with this.  

He explained his woes about meditation, which is one that I often hear others give: “I can’t clear my mind.” 

Allow me to expose a little secret: In meditation we don’t have to clear our mind.

I gently began to explain to my husband that if we clear our mind, what lessons would we learn in our practice of meditation? Instead, when we bring intention to our thoughts we begin to understand how to respond to them, instead of react.

Think about it like this, you begin your meditation with a picturesque scene, such as a beach, and you picture the waves of the ocean. Joyfully, you see a bird, and then your mind suddenly flips to this very bird attacking a family on the beach who are choosing to feed it chips.

Witness now as your mind moves to chips and the large list of grocery items you suddenly need to purchase. Next thing you know you see your extensive to-do list and *BING*! Your 5-minute alarm rings and your meditation is now over.

You may feel defeated and react. You judge yourself on how terrible at meditating you are and what a waste of time it was.  

Now, does this seem like a successful or even delightful meditation?

Does it seem like something you may want to ever attempt again? 

My guess is, probably not.

As we attempt this meditation again we utilize a different mindset, a more intentional process of meditation. 

First, the understanding of meditation – we are not attempting to clear our mind, but instead respond to our thoughts. We are learning how to practice intentional thought.

Here’s our outcome utilizing this mindset: We sit and picture the same ocean waves, the same bird comes in to play, the same thought of the bird attacking a family feeding it chips, and here is where it changes, we notice.

We notice as our thought begins to wander off to somewhere outside of our intention. What do we do to shift it? We begin again. We hone in on our breath, our steady and constant, breath. We think to ourselves, “I inhale, I exhale.” Once we feel our breath come in and out of our body we can concentrate on our awareness, which leads us back to our intention, and we may begin our meditation again.  

We reconnect and picture the ocean again…

This exercise may take days, weeks, or months before we move past the ocean, but we understand we are learning a great deal of intentional thinking and how to respond to our thoughts instead of react to them.  

With constant practice this intentional form of thinking may begin to seep into our daily life. Our decisions may begin to become more thought provoked and less reactive with every practice of the art of intentional thinking, meditations.

Brittney Hiller of Port Royal is the founder and CEO of Brittney Hiller Yoga. Her mission is to inspire people of all ages, to boost physical well-being, create inner awareness and exude self-love through a mind-body practice. With over 6 years’ experience, she joyfully teaches yoga in a fun, approachable, and therapeutic way. Get a free Beginner’s Guide to Meditation ebook at brittneyhilleryoga.com/love.