QUESTIONS LEADING TO EMPTY SPACE – OVERCOMING STUBBORN DISTRACTIONS
One of the main purposes of training in meditation and mindfulness is to gain access to that part of our consciousness that lies beyond or behind our thinking mind. It is in that spacious, thoughtless, timeless space that we gain access to both higher levels of our intuitive and creative self, as well as to a level of being that is deeply renewing and regenerating.
The challenge is often that in our daily meditation practice we find that there are particular thoughts, memories and emotions that are bothering us and that refuse to go away despite our best efforts to ‘push’ them out of our mind.
The technique that I describe below is designed to help resolve and harmonize the psychological discord that underlies the thoughts that are bothering us (thus resolving the issue on the level of the thinking mind) and allows us to pass through the distraction to access the open space of consciousness that lies beyond our thinking mind.
It is a useful technique to have because it enables us to use the distraction itself as the stepping stone to a deeper meditative state. Thus the ‘problem’ becomes the method to obtain the desired goal.
Step 1: Identify the thought or issue that is bothering you.
Sitting in meditation, identify the issue in your life that is most bothering you, or most present in your mind at the time. So for example you might find that your minds primary issue is:
- I resent my partner for something he has done
- I am anxious because of the lack of ideas that I have regarding an important project at work
- I am irritable because my child seems to be incapable of following basic instructions
During this first stage you are simply bringing awareness to your primary issue; the one that your mind is preoccupied with and that is getting in the way of your meditation.
Step 2: Ask yourself; “Why it is good that I have this issue?”
The second stage involves thinking of a good and positive reason that your personal challenge exists, for example:
- It is good that I am having this issue with my partner because it is helping me learn how to express and assert my needs and wishes to him, which up to this time has been a problem for me in my relationships.
- It is good that I am feeling anxious about ideas for the project at work because it shows me that I am at the edge of my creative powers and pushing myself to a new level
- It is good that I am having these issues with my child because it is helping me to see more clearly the levels of development she is at, and to adjust my expectations accordingly
You get the idea; you are framing the issue positively, so that you can see the value in having it. At this stage you can even write down your positive framing if you like, just to make it clear.
Step 3: Express appreciation for this issue
This next stage involves sitting and focusing on the issue and developing feelings of appreciation, acceptance and even enthusiasm for having this issue present in your life. As you breathe in breathe in your appreciation of the issue into your body and cellular structure, as you breathe out feel yourself becoming comfortable and appreciative with the issues existence in your mind and life.
Step 4: Let go of the issue, relax into the thoughtless space behind your mind
Having accepted and harmonized your relationship to the issue that you were struggling with, now gently let go of it and relax into the formless timeless space that lies beyond the thoughts in your mind relaxing into it in a state of meditation for as long as you wish.
What seemed like your obstacle to meditation has now become the tool through which you enter meditation.
Of course this technique also has broader applications; you can use it to build a positive relationship to any existing issue in your life, transforming it into an ally rather than an obstacle.
By Toby Ouvry, www.tobyouvry.com, Contributor of //LIVE SIMPLY//