Surviving Life Drowning in Self Help A Meditative Life Line

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Part of my identity, my essence and who I believed myself to be was knowing I was going to have a roof over my head and a place to go where I could feel safe to some degree.

Me in 2011 before life as I had always known it changed drastically in 2014–2015.

I have always been considered poor or low-income, under $28,000-$30,000, but with some stability in how I interacted with life and survived.

It was a good life. It was not true poverty. And although it is only by grace that I am not living on the street this probably is not either.

I’ve always had a stable home with moderate security, at least in my own ability to provide it.

Then life happened, the unexpected and things changed. Stability and mobility declined at the same time. Many of my windows of choice and opportunity narrowed. Time, despite efforts, without long term change did a number on my ego.

Self-esteem has been my biggest angst because of the inability to restore what was lost materially, emotionally, and physically.

It has been the most humbling aspect of the experience and darkest knight to escape.

(Yes, I intended to write Knight, not Night. I like metaphors, lol, okay I can still laugh at myself a little bit.)

So I began to seek ways to help my inner self when I was failing so miserably at helping my outer self.

When your worst enemy is YOU!

We are by far our own worst enemies when we embrace whatever our minds hand us about our perceptions of life and ourselves, without questioning the validity or truth of those thoughts or feelings.

One of the hardest things to accept is you can’t control, change, or always influence others perceptions and judgment of you once they make them.

Just because circumstance change, expectations don’t always adapt to fit the need and necessity, and not all things survive or last forever, home or relationships.

Life happens to everyone good and bad.

Knowing what you should do and putting that knowledge into action do not always go hand in hand. Sometimes believing what you know is true is not easy either nor does it change the outcome.

I discovered actionable techniques can make a difference on a personal and inner level even if you are the only one aware of it, and it's a small thing. It matters at that moment. It is an action you can take when you feel powerless.

I learned…

Mindfulness is not extemporary. It requires hard work and practice.

Practicing mindfulness is really hard. It is a daily battle of focus, thoughts, choice, study, practice, and actions.

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It is learning ACTIONABLE techniques that can help you control and direct your own thoughts out of the chaos that stems from your primal human nature as life happens to us or through us.

(Word, Color, and Shape Association is a great training tool to reinforce what you learn into your subconscious. Color Psychology. Word Association Study.)

Reinforce good thoughts and habits.

Law of Dual Thought (5)
A thought is a combination of ideation and feeling. We can attach any feeling to a thought we want. The 7 Laws of Mind

It is consciously taking actions and choosing the hard thing sometimes, or accepting it, leaving out the judgments.

Sometimes I feel really stressed out. I have trouble slowing my mind to ease the anxiety so I can figure out what comes next and how to do implement into actions.

I have found that meditation can help.

I use to roll my eyes at meditation, but then one day I decided to give it an honest try for a month.

When I get it right I feel the calming balm to my mind, spirit, and also in a physical sense.

It is the physical sense that makes a person keep seeking it, returning to it trying to achieve that feeling once more. The physical is the cage that holds all of me (mind, body, spirit) captive and present in this world.

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Achieving that physical sense along with the mental and spiritual is really hard to do when there are many aspects of your life that are uncertain, subject to random chaos, and your own self-flagellation, which is where mindfulness and meditation can come into play.

It's hard to do when your life is great too.

This is a solo journey and a process that only you can decide to take. Need and necessity are strong motivators to try new things with the potential to improve your life.

Prayer is one of the oldest forms of mediation. Think David and the Psalms, Proverbs and so forth.

Meditation and prayer can also be an affirmation skill to reconstruct the subconscious.

In prayer, it often reinforces faith and belief along with the ability to memorize and quote scripture.

One of my favorite modern prayers to use as an affirmation is the Serenity Prayer. I find it reassuring, practical, and divine in its narrative to acceptance and faith.

Serenity Prayer
– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.
Read more varieties of the Serenity Prayer here

Meditation does not have to be tied to any type of philosophy or religious idea or prayer.

It is simply a stilling of the mind and a deep breathing exercise where you learned to focus attention inward rather than on the outer world. The focus is stillness and breathe. Just breathe.

The goal to quiet the mind of all thought hammering at you or intruding so you can think clearly without the inner pressure and internal turmoil badgering you.

What it is not is… not thinking or having no thought. I think of it more like a hibernation of thought, because I am aware even while I redirect and release it choosing stillness and silence.

The challenge is how long can you do it and how long can you make it last?

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What is the point?

Meditation is learning how to release and center your self, so your thoughts, angst, problems and the living of life does not overwhelm you to the point you can’t cope or find the joy of life while you are living it.

(That is what caused me to try it. Other peoples reasons might not be so dramatic. People also seek it for self-development, discipline, spiritual reasons, and so on.)

It is a de-stressing discipline/technique that takes daily practice to perfect. It actually has long term health benefits if you can master yourself.

It is only in taming thought, harnessing it and directing it, that helps improve the quality of your inner life.

That quality of inner life will eventually express itself in our outer world because it directs our actions and choices.

The physical world functions on cause and effect and the consequence thereof.

Cause & Effect & Possibilities
~MKE PART 11 intro - Charles F. Haanel (The Master Key System)
“It is well, however, to remember that while every effect is the result of a cause, the effect, in turn, becomes a cause, which creates other effects, which in turn create still other causes; so that when you put the law of attraction into operation you must remember that you are starting a train of causation for good or otherwise which may have endless possibilities.”

The whole going with the flow can be misleading and destructive in daily life. Structured routine is the cornerstone of ingrained habit, learning, and accomplishment.

Heck, that is what gets you out of bed and your first coffee of the day.

Those choices put into action via words or physical acts or choices shape everything that matters to us from lifestyle to relationships.

It is about personal growth and mastery to some degree. Your thoughts are one of the few things you have absolute control over in this life. They are always with you even when you are absolutely alone.

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Why meditate?

Well, I think that answer will vary according to the individual that chooses to do or try meditation. There is a list of benefits you can find in many places. Healthline Newsletter for one. They list:

  • It calms.
  • It reduces stress and helps control anxiety.
  • It helps with focus and attention.
  • It aids in self-awareness.
  • May reduce age-related memory loss.
  • Improves sleep.
  • May help reduce blood pressure.
  • Can be used to control pain.
  • Helps control and direct our thoughts. We are the constructs of our imaginations and hearts.
  • Helps our minds reshape the story we tell our subconscious which promotes healthy change.
  • Can be the first step in forming or changing a habit that will improve our lives.
  • It can be the first step in learning self-discipline and practicing it.

The thing is, you cannot say meditation does not work if you don’t give it a good honest try. Start with eight to ten minutes a day for a month.

It is not a practice that always yields immediate results for all. Some people need up to 3 months to give it that honest try. Errr… like me.

Things you can do

Pick a quiet place where you will be undisturbed for a short time. Pick a time of day that works best for you. Be Still. Breath in, breath out several times. Allow yourself to relax.

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Clear your mind gently don’t fight the drifting-allow it, BUT… Find a focal point as your mind drifts and gently come back to the focal point. Your mind will wander. It is normal.

The suggested best length of time to invest in the meditation is 8 to 10 minutes, but even 3–5 will work.

Now, whether you are giving your meditation effort 8, 10, or more minutes, here some things that people do to aid them during meditation:

  • Create that special place in your mind where only you go to get away. A place near the ocean, the mountains, a forest, or just a special room, whatever fits you. Add details the sounds, smells, feelings, all the senses, colors… Allow your imagination to carry you there.
  • You are feeling stressed to get started: Focus on a problem that flits at you like a gnat. Breathe, relax and just let it go allowing the universe to return the solution to you or take away its importance. (If you never tried EPT tapping-Youtube video. You could try that and add it into your mediation routine.)
  • Some people like to light a candle and stare at a point around the flame or a fireplace or fountain of running water and so on.
  • You should focus on your breath, taking one deep long breath in through the nose and then release slowly out through the mouth and repeat. Feel inhalation in your diaphragm. Breathing Exercises.
  • Sit in a comfortable position and do beginner Oms. Another Oms. Sound therapy in meditation can be very healing. (Best when using headphones) ** I suggest making the sound yourself at first without the background sound effects or headphones. Allowing yourself to physically feel it down in the bass octave generated in your own body at the back of the throat in your lower neck, and then after doing it for a few minutes assess how you feel. Try both ways or do both together. More relaxing sound.
  • Some find a desk where they can sit in a comfortable position in a chair with both feet balanced firmly on the ground, cross arms on a desk and lean forward placing forehead on your arms stretch out so arms support forehead, as if you are going to take a nap, and allowing the mind to drift listening to the sounds around you. This is called the restorative yoga pose #10 in this article. This exercise could be done outside, say at a picnic table, or even in your car. Listen to the wind, birds, and other sounds. Be in the moment here and now, don’t dwell on the past or future. There is just right now.
  • Some add aromatherapy to their sit using candles or oils or room freshener or misting systems.

The point is you need to try different ways to find the way that suits you best. You can use one way or combination of ways.

The point is to give it a shot doing daily meditation for at least a month and see how you feel after that before making a judgment on it.

I admit I go through phases with it at times depending on the chaos in my life. We all have chaos and always will to some degree.

I seldom miss it nowadays, no matter what is happening, but it is the dedication to the practice and remembering how much better I feel when I do it.

You only need 8 to 10 minutes in a 24 hour day, but if you like it you will find you want more opportunities or a longer sit.

There is no magic.

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It is just a way of tapping into and finding your own peace because everyone defines that in different ways. It resets something inside of you once you get it.

Create your own routine your way. Make it fun so you want to return to it.

Any practice takes some dedication, planning, and perseverance, be it writing, martial arts, drawing, and painting, singing, athletics, or anything we want to do well and be good at and gives us satisfaction or accomplishment.

Gain those last two and it definitely improves the self-esteem, life outlook, and all interactions no matter your situation or circumstance. Why? Because you changed in the action and that action helped you create a change to give you the energy to take one or next step forward.

(That’s my take and I’m sticking to it. Just Google it! LOL, Don’t you just love this new information age? We live in a miraculous world. I just need to get my daily grind in order and find some peace.)

Recommended Reading: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg