The mind can move just like our physical body. How many times do we trip over our own thoughts in the day. Do we slip focus, do we stumble over our feet.. Are we even aware our feet exist? Are our thoughts shouting erratically or are they still and subtle.
Movements of the mind and the movement of the physical body can correlate.
In the Information Age being aware of where our attention is and how our mind is moving is a vital skill. We can be drawn in to the bright shiny lights of Netflix, stuck in the endless scroll of social media or programmed by the narrative of fear through mainstream media. Our attention is generative. Being able to catch and place our attention can gift our life back from the hypno-rectangles commonly know as screens.
I have an immense gratitude and enthusiasm for meditation. My mental health was in crises when I committed to daily meditation in 2012. Over time practice has given me an awareness of my mind, acceptance of my self and the ability to choose how I grow.
Just like learning to move, dance, or run. It has been my experience that you can learn how the mind moves. At first we can feel silly, stumble and make mistakes. Great! This is where the learning happens. First find acceptance over where you are then steadily over time this is when you can fine tune the mind. Enjoying a journey of growing a awareness of its movements, patterns, ebbs and flows of attention and all the funny angles which make us unique.
Then developing skill like an instrument to tune and focus. Internally or externally. Imagine having laser point focus, to focus on what you wish to create. Or the mental stamina to be able to actively listen to someone dear to you.
Have a think of how these qualities can apply to your mind.
Active – Focusing
Passive – Listening
Different meditations will have different movements. Depending on how your mind has adapted to the environment. Some may be easy or more difficult to use. Explore to find one that feels good for you. Then galvanise this enthusiasm into your practice.
How can you learn mental fitness?
Practice. Every day.
Integrate your practice by finding a time that works for you. In the morning, before bed or on a lunch break. Regularity is the key to success here. As the steady foundation of awareness and ease begins to grow. Initial resistance can turn into an enthusiasm for practice, like meeting an old friend.
Acceptance. Every time you sit it will be different. Especially in the beginning the mind can be like a garden full of weeds. More and more as you tend to this garden. The weeds will begin to clear, and the plants you wish to focus on will begin to thrive and flourish.
When you notice your thinking of something else that is great! That’s the bicep curl pulling your attention back to the object of focus.
Over time. Choose a few to work with consistently. Developing a tool box that you know well and can adapt to your life’s need.
I enjoy taking an active focus with the breath.. letting it go passive.. observing what appears. Then re-engaging an active focus with breath. These journeys and cycles through the mind can be deep with insight.
Alternate nostril breathing is fantastic practice to put you in a steady state ready to meditate. Like warming up before any exercise.. it can make the journey a lot more enjoyable and effective.
This skill you cultivate in sitting “meditation” practice is then integrated into your life with “mindfulness”… two sides of the same coin.
How would you choose to know and grow your mind?