how to sit to stop doing and change your mind

Change Your Mind

I’ve been dealing with a serious health challenge in my family for the last couple of months, which has me traveling back and forth across the Atlantic. This is why I haven’t written in a while, as other things seem more important at the moment. My meditation practice being one of them: I cannot imagine being able to cope with the ephemeral nature of life without the support of my practice. Of course, when I sit down to be still my mind goes off in all kinds of directions. That is not the point, however. The point is not to make my thoughts stop, but to be with my thoughts. I want to be fully present with my experience as it arises in every moment: sometimes there is sadness and other times there is Light.  It is all there to be observed, to be lived, rather than to be swept away and ignored because I don’t want to feel a certain way.

We can change our mind by meditating. Meditation is a state of being, not something you do. In a way, the verb “to meditate” is therefore a misnomer. The not-doing is what makes the practice of meditation so simple and difficult at the same time. We seem to be programmed to always do something. Even when we are sitting still, we are often still doing. We are constantly trying to fix things in our mind, to understand it all, to make sense of it. If instead, we take a couple of deep breaths to help our nervous system to relax, a different part of our brain is triggered. It is the part of our brain that can let go of the need to be constantly in control, and that is able to observe: “Oh, this is here now” without wanting it to be different. The more we trigger this part of our brain, the easier this becomes. In other words: we can train our brain to be less reactive. When we practice sitting still and observe what our experience is – when we practice just being – we will become better at it and will begin to see the world, well, through different eyes.

My practice allows me to be fully part of Life, instead of feeling that Life it happening to me. Meditation is allowing your mind to melt with the Universe, as my husband said so beautifully the other day. You are becoming one with what is by giving up resistance. This is not the same as giving up hope or trust. It is saying “yes” to the truth of what is here now, which is not always pretty. It is the realization that there is nothing to fix, nothing to do, in this moment. Subsequently I may decide that skillful action is required – whatever that may be. This way, Life feels less like an uphill battle. I don’t feel like a victim. I can dance with ugly and beautiful experiences alike: Now it is like this.


Note: this blog is based on my personal experience, and only partly based on scientific evidence. It is not intended to substitute care from a professional mental healthcare practitioner. For further scientific research, you may like to read here and here.