Do you find you can’t think clearly about your values? A good way to learn to focus your thoughts and integrate change into your life is through meditation. Meditation is a simple practice that cultivates attention and focus. Meditation is about listening to your own mind and body. It is about improving your health and quality of life.
Life’s problems can be seen more clearly through the lens of a clear mind. Meditation is the development of mindfulness. Mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness. Mindfulness is developed by purposefully paying attention to things we ordinarily never give a moment’s thought to. It is a systematic approach to develop a new kind of control in our lives based on increasing our capacity and skills for relaxation, paying attention, awareness, and insight (Kabat- Zinn, 2005).
We routinely and unknowingly waste enormous amounts of energy in reacting automatically to our own inner experiences and the outside world. Cultivating mindfulness is a way of paying attention. It requires looking deeper into your self with a spirit of self-inquiry and self-understanding. Try the following meditation exercise for five minutes.
- Sit comfortably and let your gaze fall on an object, eight to ten feet away. Do not close your eyes in the beginning.
- Breathe naturally, notice when you breathe in and out. Do not try to change your breathing, just notice it.
- Let your thoughts come and go. Do not grab hold of any of them. Let them pass by you like waves on the ocean.
- Always return your thoughts gently to your breath, listening to, and feeling your breath (Kabat-Zinn, 2005).
Informal meditation practice can happen anytime. Just move your thoughts to your breathing and gently follow your breath in and out. As your thoughts flow, acknowledge the thought and let it go. Return to listening and feeling the rhythm of your breathing (Kabat-Zinn, 2005).
Short periods of meditation can help you manage stress, increase insight into self and behaviors, increase optimism, and reduce risk of relapse. Meditation is proven to have a positive influence on your immune system. It is a simple tool to help focus your thinking and help you to find your values. Try meditating for five minutes every morning before you head out the door (Kabat-Zinn, 2005).
Raising your standards is a choice and a decision. When you make a decision to use simple relaxation techniques (like meditation) to help you calm your mind you can begin to live your values and create lasting change in your life. Meditation can help you develop the clarity of thought and find the reasons you need to change and to maintain your new higher standards. Mediation is a way to calm yourself and check back into your values when you are thinking about using again or experiencing frustration or stress.
It is your clear values and higher standards that will form the strongest foundation in your relapse prevention plan. Using the powerful tool of a personal vision is initiated by defining your basic value system. Through developing your value system and increasing your mindfulness, you will begin to lay out the real purpose in your life. With positive values, purpose, and a simple tool to calm your mind, you now have the beginning of a recipe for passion in life, joy in achievement, and lasting fulfillment. Every journey begins with the first step. Your journey can start by simply knowing you want to take the journey.