Thursday, 25 April 2013

what's on your mind?

Since I can remember I've struggled with the inner workings of my own mind. I tend to think too much, to analyse what other people's intentions might or might not have been and to suffer from worry for the future or nostalgia for the past. I never really managed to 'live in the moment'. From experience I know that this can lead to unhappiness despite life being 'on track' or everything being ok, even good.

Even when Sera was born, when I had everything in the world I could have possibly wanted, I found it very hard to keep my mind from remembering some negative experiences I had directly after the birth and suffered some post-partum depression because of it.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon an app this past summer which has really changed all of that for me. Changed my life actually... Well, not the app itself, but the skills it has taught me have changed my life.

Created by Andy Puddicome, an x-Buddhist monk, and its connected app aim to teach people, through mindfulness meditation, how to actually live within their lives. To actually be present with the moment, and to train the mind to stay with the moment at any given time. For example, when you're washing the dishes, you're washing the dishes. When you're eating an apple, you're eating an apple and when you're spending time with the people you love you're actually there with them, not just physically but mentally present as well... You're not thinking about fixing up the house, the pile of work you left on your desk for tomorrow, or that conversation that didn't go well with the barista at the coffee shop this morning and what you should have said to him when he spilt the coffee all over your new shoes.

Every day now for the past 236 days now I've been sitting down to meditate, connected with my headphones to the iPod for 10 or 20 minutes. Puddicome guides you with his voice (nice British accent!) into a state of relaxation and then helps you to visualise different scenarios which you can then apply to your everyday life.

For example, your thoughts do not 'belong to you' you can watch them pass as you would cars down a road.... You don't have to hold onto the positive ones or run away from the negative ones... You can just watch as they come and go.

Or: the sky is always blue.... Clouds come an go and just block our view of it (I particularly like this one because it reminds me that its always sunny somewhere).

I love the way the meditations go because they have no religion or excessive spirituality involved with them. There are no mantras or chanting or religious icons and figures involved. It's just you, alone with yourself for a little bit each day.

I recommend trying it out if only for the first 10 days in which you only sit for 10 minutes a day. It's like a quick workout for your mind and then you're charged and ready for the rest of your day. It lets me be a better wife, mum and friend for the rest of the day as well, which the people who know me can definitely confirm!

I have, since starting with the getsomeheadspace app, investigated other sources of meditation training and mindfulness training including reading books on the subject and following online meditation seminars as well. Jon Kabat-Zinn has some wonderful books and Deepak Chopra probably has the most soothing voice I've ever hear, but more on that another time.

Best of luck with your own spiritual and self-discovery journey from a fellow traveller!

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