The double edge of introspection
Is meditation for everyone?
Q: I have recently introduced meditation into my personal health and wellness routine, and I find myself struggling with some of the negative stuff I am experiencing. I am hearing myself being critical as I attempt to quiet my mind and it is very distracting. Is there anything you can suggest that may help? -Wilton
A: Wilton, what you are experiencing is what I sometimes refer to as the double edge of introspection. When we meditate, we hope to achieve a sense of calmness, clarity, peace, or some other positive state. Unfortunately, what many new meditators experience is the static of negative self-talk, self-criticism, and emotional noise. This is part of the process, so the fact that you are experiencing this is a good indication you are actually doing well, because you are paying attention to your thoughts and feelings.
You may not be experiencing the things you want to experience yet, but much like when the power goes out, sometimes you have to bump your knee or stub your toe on the way to flipping the circuit breaker back on. It is absolutely normal to experience emotional noise when meditating, and in fact, your ability to be patient through the noise is part of the benefit. The challenge is that you can only strengthen your patience by working through it and getting better at being able to turn down the volume of the static.
One thing you can do is to acknowledge the thoughts and feelings without resistance, be grateful for their presence and while breathing deeply, allow them to fade away; replacing them with a mantra or self-affirmation that may be the opposite of the negative self-talk you are hearing. For example, with a kind but strong voice, you can remind yourself that you are smart, resourceful, resilient, or whichever positive attributes you actually possess, of which I am sure there are many.
Enjoy the process, with all its ups and downs, as you get to know yourself better and remind yourself of your awesomeness.
Combining over 30 years in the field of self-development, Rod is the CEO of the Certified Coaches Federation, one of the largest coach education companies in the world, and a speaker, coach and author. For more information on the Certified Coaches Federation, visit www.certifiedcoachesfederation.com and for more information on Rod, visit www.indestructiblehuman.com.
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