It took me an unusually long amount of time to figure out why observing thoughts during mindfulness meditation practice made sense. Every now and then I would practice long enough to withdraw and feel like a zombie, a witness that just looked at a never ending stream of water going down ending up in a hole that did not seem to have a bottom. Sometimes it would overflow, but sometimes the stream would get so dry it would feel dreadful, “Am I going insane?” was a recurring thought; you realize later that that thought was part of the stream, too. Sometimes I would take the bait and think of having no thoughts. The ego takes on so many different forms, it’s outstanding. Alan Watts once said that traps exist for as long as there is someone to trap.
It’s very interesting to see how my psyche has changed since the humble beginnings of my meditation practice four years ago. The practice has helped me in developing a hyper-awareness of physical reflexes that became an unforeseen benefit. This has helped me in great ways with sports as to regulate my breathing, my exertions and my facial expressions. Another visible example lies in most social interactions. I have noticed that whenever I have a slight moment of hesitation or that I am ashamed of my position I will break eye contact and move my locus of attention to the right and then go on a tangent that smooths out my story. I’ve come to the conclusion that I did not like taking specific positions because I was agreeable and that I had a tendency to avoid conflict. By understanding this pattern, by looking at physical cues; I can better assess and question my behavior to come up with corrective measures(A simple way to correct defective patterns will be the topic of my next article). Being neutral means that you never state the conditions for success… or failure! It’s in line with the classic adage that we cannot reach a target if we do not aim at it. And how many times have we been told to think before speaking? It has always been notoriously difficult to take a moment of reflexion before speaking up. That exciting angst that exists within us breaks out and gives us an arrogant and foul air. How are we to learn and understand someone if our conversations are oriented towards ourself?
I began learning and practicing meditation four years ago. At the time I was emotionally and materially wealthy, but I felt wretched throughout the day. Especially when I was alone in a public setting. It is hard to explain why one feels lonely or sad, or even happy and excited… when one lives whatever thought stream happens to exist at the time without being aware of it. It’s similar to being on a boat that is buffeted by strong currents. Only the experience is heart wrenching if we have no navigational skills. You get pulled in different directions, at nature’s mercy. The reason why I am talking about this, is that four years later my relationship with this thought stream is very different. Let’s go over distinct experiences that I had which seem to have a lot in common.