Science Finally Explains What Meditators Have Known for Years (Why Mindfulness Meditation is So Hard)
“I just can’t do meditation because I can’t stop thinking about stuff.”
This is one of the most common comments I hear about meditation. So an article published recently piqued my interest when it touched on that exact problem.
Ph.D. researchers and scientists from Boston University are attempting to redefine the explanation of consciousness. Intriguing, especially as they went on to say this.
“Even our thoughts are not generally under our conscious control. This lack of control is why we may have difficulty stopping a stream of thoughts running through our head as we’re trying to go to sleep, and also why mindfulness is hard.”
The Great Misconception
It is one of the misconceptions about meditation that you actually have to try and stop your brain from thinking. That is not actually the aim of meditation but we will get to that in a moment.
I have put a link to the full article at the end but in a nutshell, they are saying our unconscious memory patterns trigger our thoughts. Sometimes only milliseconds before we act.
This means the choices we make and the thoughts we have come from our unconscious mind. In short, it is our unconscious that is in control most of the time.
This is not really news to the meditation community, to be honest.
Buddhist monks have been teaching this for about 2500 years. I’m glad science is catching up though!
Mindfulness Meditation is NOT about Stopping Thinking
The last thing we are trying to achieve through meditation is being brain-dead…or mind-dead even.
It is more a case of observing our thoughts with detachment. The aim is to not let our thoughts hijack our awareness of the present moment and lead us along a path of past or future thinking.
In short, we do not want our unconscious mind to control us.
The scientists are right though as it is hard to do!
This is because it takes much practice. That is why people give up after a couple of attempts and declare it is not for them. It’s like saying I tried losing weight by giving up sugar but I couldn’t do it …..so I might as well not bother.
There is a great example of unconscious control over the conscious mind.
Meditation is Not an Event or a one-off Course.
You don’t start exercising and stop after a month and say ‘I have completed my exercise course so I’m done now, I don’t need to do it anymore.’ Well, some do I suppose. I have done that myself actually.
Until I reprogramed my unconscious mind!
Meditation is like keeping fit and healthy, it is a lifestyle. A way of life. If you really look within yourself you will be able to find the reasons why you do it too.
They are often not what you think they are.
Consciously you may say you want to be fit and healthy. Unconsciously you may have some shame at being overweight. Or you may feel guilty about your diet. You might want to impress a new love in your life.
Or……and here is the thing. You want to look good like the adverts say you should look!
Many of those unconscious reasons are not what your conscious mind tells you. The unconscious is running the show!
I’m quite happy about the research they are doing though. For too long many people deny this sort of thing and carry on believing they do everything consciously.
Find Out Who You Really Are and Be Free!
Meditation can help us go within and find some of those unconscious reasons.
We do this by observing our thoughts. It is amazing what happens over time through this practice. You actually start to find out more about yourself.
You even begin to uncover why you are like that too.
And that……is one of the most powerful personal growth experiences you can have.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post in this publication, I appreciate it.
What to Read Next……Learn How to Meditate Like a Buddhist Monk