But occasionally the rational thought seeps in, especially while I'm practicing guided meditation. After reading a particularly panicked email in which I described how exhausted I felt by daily interactions in a foreign culture, not to mention my non-stop schedule of teaching or preparing for class, my sister suggested I visit GetSomeHeadspace.com. They offer short, guided meditation in a soothing, practical British voice. It's all about the fact that you don't have to make an effort, that you shouldn't try to be perfect at meditation.
Why can't I stop thinking? "Because you’re a human being, and our default setting has become frenetic thought! If we could stop thinking at will, we wouldn’t need to learn to meditate. Just be gentle with yourself. It’s like whack–a–mole — the more you try to quash your thoughts, the more they’ll pop up. Bring your attention back to your breath each time, and with a little practice the sense of calm will begin to increase."It's helping. It's interesting to slow down and be aware of what thoughts do flit through, as I sit back and watch them pass by. Yesterday, when my new friend, British Mind-Guide/Guru told me to let me mind be free, to let whatever thoughts might come run free, I saw, smelled and heard the streets I walk everyday. The muddy puddles of potholes where the alley isn't paved. The car horns honked in anger at the inevitable traffic jams. My heeled boots pounding on the pavement outside the market, announcing my arrival.
Today when British Mind-Guide/Guru asked me to scan down my body to see how each part was feeling, tense? relaxed? heavy? light? and to recognize my emotions, what we're actually feeling beneath our thoughts, the first thought was "I miss my best friend." While that's a given, it's interesting to see that it's right there, beneath all my thoughts about my neck tension and needing to do the dishes. Today I also thought about a countdown calendar. That I'm almost to month 1, looking forward to month 3, when everyone tells me I will feel more comfortable in this new, different place. And, looking forward to month 6, which is my deadline to consider returning home, to decide what comes next in life.
While I'm being very loving with these thoughts and emotions, I also recognize that focusing only on the future defeats the purpose. It defeats the present moment. My Daily OM email today reminded me of the power of positive thinking:
"Confidence and empowerment are mental choices, so you may have to convince yourself by acting as if you already possess the feelings you want to have. Today you are able to convince yourself and others of the truth of your confidence and inner strength. Positive thinking, the use of affirmations, and our imaginations are powerful tools in building our dreams.
"...When we can convince our minds that such things are possible, we have made the first step in making them our reality. As with any energy, this works in the negative as well. This is why it is important to keep our thoughts positive. We have the same power to create and experience negative outcomes as positive ones; it is up to us." ~Daily OM