Talking of meditation, I cannot tell you how much meditation helped me recently, how grateful I am that I have practiced meditation a lot over the years. I’m grateful for the times I didn’t feel like it but did it anyway or when it just wasn’t happening but I persevered. Why? Because when things have been difficult over the last few weeks with Mum’s illness I have truly found the benefit of this calming, focusing practice.
There have been many nights when I have been awake at 4am with thoughts and worries going round and round in my head. In a state of semi-sleep this can continue for hours, but when I realise what is happening and make a conscious decision to change it, then the magic begins to happen. To find out how meditation has helped me cope during this challenging time, click here to read more on my website.
Find a point of focus
I start by finding something, anything, nice to concentrate on. For me this is often a tree, a flower or even just watching my breath – anything that is completely unrelated to what has been churning round my head. It is not always quick and often not easy either. However I keep bringing my mind back to my chosen thought, every time it starts to following the churning thoughts again. In time it wanders less often and I notice my wandering mind more quickly to bring it back. I notice that it’s easier to re-focus on the more pleasant thought and that I become calmer and my heart rate slows again. And gradually I fall back into a restful sleep.
But this doesn’t happen by chance, this happens because I have practiced and practiced and practiced. Practiced in my group, with You Tube videos, in retreats or courses, with CDs and just on my own. Time after time, so that I know what my mind is prone to doing, so that I know what thoughts are likely to keep my mind engaged and focused when it is at its most distracted.