Thanks for joining me again for Mindfulness Monday! If you’ve missed previous weeks, I decided to embark on an experiment with Mindfulness Meditation to see if it could help me learn to relax. I’m using a book called Mindfulness, An Eight-Week Plan For Finding Peace In A Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. Please check out my previous Mindfulness Monday posts to learn more about it. The links are included at the bottom of this post.
This week’s chapter was entitled Moving Beyond the Rumor Mill and the authors likened our thoughts to rumors that get started which might be true, or then again, might not. They talk about what is sometimes called the ABC Model of Emotions: The “A” represents the actual situation — what would be recorded if someone had their phone out recording it as it happened. “B” is the interpretation we give the scene, “the running story we create out of the situation, which often flows just beneath the surface of awareness but is taken as fact” say the authors. “C” represents our reactions, whether emotional or physical. The authors say that although we can see “A” and “C” clearly, we often aren’t even aware of “B”. We just think the situation is what aroused our emotions, rather than realizing that our interpretation is what resulted in our feeling a certain way.
The authors go on to say,”Unfortunately, the mind often finds it very difficult to detect the difference between fact and fiction once it has begun to construct a mental model of the world.” They give the example of self-criticism and how when we become stressed or vulnerable, we can only hear our inner critic. If you read my post Let It Go, you know I had an issue with that just last week. That experience helped me really appreciate, because I experienced it first-hand, what the authors are talking about here.
The stated purpose for this week’s meditations was to enhance our ability to sense when the mind and body are sending us signals that things are taking a negative path and we run the risk of becoming self-attacking. The meditations were the Eight-Minute Breath and Body meditation and the Three-Minute Breathing Space meditation we discussed last week. The new meditation for this week was called the Sounds and Thoughts meditation.
The purpose of the Sounds and Thoughts meditation is to help us see the similarities between the two. They both seem to come from nowhere, they can seem to arise randomly without our being able to control them, and they can both trigger powerful emotions.
As you know, I’m using the audio downloads, and I was afraid I was going to have to listen to some kind of sounds they recorded. This made me a little nervous because I have a real issue with certain sounds or repetitive notes or beats and I knew if that’s what it was, I was out of there! It wasn’t though; it was just a guided meditation that walked you through observing the sounds that came in and out of your consciousness, then doing the same with your thoughts, trying not to get wrapped up in them, but observing, then letting them fade. I think this meditation was a good lesson in realizing that you don’t have to “own” every thought that pops into your head; you can just do as you do with the sounds you hear — observe them and move on. I don’t think it’s one I would choose to do on regular basis, but I can see why it was important in this “journey.”
I don’t really think I’m getting any better at meditation, and I haven’t really seen any results yet, but it’s a process. I liked what the authors had to say about this:
“Think of the meditation as planting seeds. You give young seeds the right conditions, but you don’t try to dig them up each day to see if they’ve grown roots. Meditation is like cultivating a garden: your experience deepens and changes, but this takes place in horticultural time, not clock time.”
I was not blessed with a great deal of patience, so I don’t know how this is all going to work out, but I made a commitment to at least get through this book, and I made you all my accountability partners, so I plan to stick with it. :o) Thanks for helping me stay on track!
Have you ever experienced “the rumor mill” in your mind? How have you handled it?