I often hear that people strive for silence in meditation; the ambition to be thoughtless, to silence the mind. My starting point however was being with my thoughts. Look at the thoughts that pass by; what issues are the thoughts associated with? The subject of your thoughts is what occupies your mind but you can look at them, research them, as they are the ones you have not yet found peace with. If you investigate the subjects and do what is necessary with them, the thoughts will disappear. Then silence is the result of meditation, not the start. When you’re okay with everything, there’s silence.
You have thoughts about something you still have to do that day, or thoughts about something that didn’t go well that day. There are thoughts about something someone said to you or thoughts about how your body feels. These thoughts float to the surface. If you sit down with those thoughts and examine them, you can explore them. Look a little deeper, beyond how you have been conditioned, beyond the action that belongs to the thoughts but, for example, the underlying feeling, where the origin of thought is.
For example, a colleague makes a comment about the outfit you are wearing that day. The thought you have at that moment is “phew what a jerk, he can’t keep his opinion to himself”. During the day the comment you colleague made, won’t let you go. Your irritation towards your colleague grows. You try to avoid him. You complain to a friend about the shitty comment from your colleague. You think about it all day long. In the evening you meditate, and there is the thought about your colleague again. These are the kinds of thoughts I’m talking about.
In your mind, your colleague has done something to you. But is that true? Instead of looking at your colleague, you could also look at yourself. Why am I so annoyed by his comment? What’s behind it on a deeper level? In my example the comment was about your appearance, so it probably irritates you because it pokes at your insecurity. If you had felt confident about how you looked and what you were wearing that day, your coworker’s comment wouldn’t have bothered you. Is it your colleague who should not make that comment? Or is it you that can work on your self-confidence? You have no control over what comes out of your colleague’s mouth. You do have the power to work on your self-confidence. Now I do not mean to say that you should actively do something with this in mediation. I mean to say that you can be with this in your meditation and observe how it makes you feel.
In meditation you have the space to explore your thoughts in silence; the time to look at yourself.Your self-awareness is your most precious possession. Look at everything; the good, the bad, the ugly. Don’t forget to look at the lies you tell yourself. We humans are particularly good at fooling ourselves.
One of the many lies I told myself was about coffee. I told myself that I was not addicted, that my body had no reaction to it. Coffee didn’t bother me, I just liked the taste. Due to a test result about my reaction to some products, from which coffee emerged as a no go, I investigated. At this point I was still denying that the test result might well be the truth. I don´t believe that you should just take everything you are told as truth, certainly not without considering how you feel about it physically and mentally. So coffee, I decided to stop drinking it for three months as research. I discovered that I was not addicted to the coffee itself, but to the “moment”, and the craft of it, coffee made with love, the smell. The idea of coffee and the associations I have with it. And when I drank an espresso after three months, I could no longer tell myself the lie that I don’t have a physical reaction to coffee. Discovering that I was lying to myself about this was of course no fun, but I’ve traded my espresso for chai latte and tea and sometimes, I treat myself to an espresso. But I no longer lie to myself about what coffee is to me and what it does to me.
In meditation I regularly come across a lie that I tell myself. And I don’t always choose to tackle them right away or take a closer look at the lie. But I am aware of it. And from the moment you have looked at the lie, something is set in motion. The fact that I will do something with it is inevitable from then on. There is no turning back my awareness.
Sitting in silence with your thoughts and letting them be can be uncomfortable. This is probably because you don’t like what you see and to stop meditating is not the solution. Listen to what you hear when there is silence. Figure out why you don’t like what you hear, and do something about it. If silence is what you strive for, it is a natural consequence of sitting with your thoughts.
In conclusion a few thoughts to take with you in your meditation:
Problems are not solved by you, problems are solved by life.
You don’t have to understand life you just have to be in love with it.
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