Here’s the strategy I’m trying. I’m hoping to balance my own meditation-sabotaging thoughts and habits:
A new twist. Instead of breathing away negative or sabotaging thoughts as I usually do, I’m gonna see what it’s like to play with them like children play with toys.
Try scooping those self-sabotaging buggers up into my chubby, adorable hands and re-arranging them just like they’re legos or wood blocks.
Or, beyond simply re-arranging, I might wipe them away entirely like they’re erasable, on paper or an etch-a-sketch.
Here’s what I mean:
1. Think of a challenging situation in your life that brings up the excuses about why you can’t practice even though you really need to. A super-stressful situation that typically threatens to swallow you and disconnect you from your calm base.
Just take a moment to feel the dread, fear and toxic thinking this situation brings up. Just for a bit.
2. Make a list of all the excuses you make during these stressful times, excuses about why you can’t practice even for a 1-minute breath-break. What do you tell yourself?
3. Now, play with these excuses. Turn them into “good” (healthy) versions of themselves.
Write the healthy versions down right next to the unhealthy ones.
Here’s a common excuse:
- I’ll put off practice until “the right” time or place. (It’s too noisy here to practice, anyway.)
Here’s a healthier version:
- I practice at the appointed time no matter where I am, even if I have to radically adapt the practice to meet my current circumstances or shorten the duration of the practice. (A little time is better than none.)
Another meditation saboteur:
- Dammit, I can’t sit still so why not just quit now and go back to the television?
Here’s a healthier version:
- I make sure I’m completely comfortable before starting practice… Or I just let it be okay that I’m uncomfortable. (Discomfort is not a meditation-fail.)… Or I do walking-meditation instead. I need the exercise anyway.
4. Now, for 30 days, follow the guidance of the healthy habits list.
5. But keep these important points in mind:
- The saboteur-thoughts are no more real than their healthier versions.
- This is just play, not brainwashing or forcing yourself into Pollyanna-ism.
- We use our conscious mind (frontal lobes) to consciously create thoughts and habits.
- Our subconscious (mostly the “backside” of our noggin) unconsciously creates thoughts and habits that we have less control over.
Either way, thoughts and habits are CREATED, which means a lot of them aren’t necessarily 100% FACT/TRUE/REAL.
So, why not play with them? Just like kids do in their playroom. They have no problem building the realities that please and delight them, creating the world they want to live in.
Skeptical about mental makeovers?
I used to be. Big Time. Affirmations, for example, were not for me.
Manually changing my thoughts seemed like contrivance…
or mentally “yelling” a positive thought loud enough to drown out the negative one…
Realists don’t play with reality. That was my view. What I was missing was that what I called reality simply was not reality.
Some of the realities I used to believe? Well, for one, that I couldn’t meditate and never would.
So I’m gonna play with thoughts and habits like legos, wooden blocks or paper and crayons.
Each moment I can build the inner world I want to live in and to live in me. I’m worth it. So are you.