Thoughts And Ideas
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Thoughts And Ideas

A Fighting Meditation

One should avoid taking an evasive step in dealing with extraneous thoughts during meditation

Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash

One of the common reasons behind the inability of most people to do traditional meditation is getting lost in the thoughts resulting in not reaching a complete stillness of mind. I believe traditional meditation was for the time in history when people led a simple life without many subconscious fears. Currently, society is complex and hence the technique of meditation also needs to change to adapt to the current needs.

Traditional meditation

I initially learned traditional meditation from a yoga teacher and it is called Yoga Nidra. In this one first needs to lie down and close his eyes and then take his focus on each and every body part. When the focus is there on a particular body part then a conscious effort is required to bring that part to complete rest i.e. remove any stress associated with it. Likewise one continues the process till the whole body is covered thus bringing the whole body to a relaxed state.

After relaxing the body next comes the process of relaxing the mind. The first one needs to bring to focus all the nearby sounds and keep focusing on them. This would cause one to not get bothered by them. Next comes taking one’s focus to far off sounds eventually leading them to become insignificant to us.

When one’s mind becomes less bothered by the surroundings then one needs to bring in thoughts that come to mind automatically. Here also one needs to apply the same technique and just observe the thoughts come and go. Eventually one will reach a state when no thought will have an emotional charge associated with it. As I will mention later this step is the culprit behind people not succeeding at meditation.

After the mind becomes calm the next step is to bring in mind the image of whichever god one believes in. I personally bring to mind pure light or consciousness which for me is god. Thereafter for select few people, there is complete stillness or no thought period.

One may not remain in complete stillness for long and needs to come out of it. This process is also gradually done. First, the focus is brought to the far-off sounds, followed by nearby sounds. Then focus is brought to various body parts, activating them by providing little movement to them in a systematic manner. Eventually when one comes back to experiencing the physical environment, does one open his eyes.

The issue with traditional meditation

In the current world, very few people have less number of subconscious fears. For the majority, till the time they are occupied, the dormant subconscious fears will not come to the surface but as soon as the mind becomes empty, they start bothering the person.

During traditional meditation, even in the initial stage of relaxing various body parts, these subconscious fears may distract the person. A common measure taken by the meditator is to bring back the focus on the process. This is where I take an exception. Instead of taking an evasive step of neglecting the thoughts related to subconscious fear, one should fight with it and should come back to the process of meditation after one has achieved victory over it.

Fighting with a subconscious fear

Say one has started the process of meditation and while taking focus on various body parts and relaxing them, suddenly a thought comes about the presentation scheduled the next day. Actually, the advent of this thought is an indication that one has subconscious fear associated with that incident.

Instead of foregoing that thought, one should go to the reason for its occurrence. Maybe one fears if the presentation does not go well then he may be humiliated in front of his peers. To remove this fear one should imagine the worst and experience the humiliation. Any strong emotion coming out of it should be properly vented out through various means such as fast breathing, etc. After this step, the fear of humiliation will go away and the fear of getting a bad appraisal may come over. One should handle this fear in a similar manner, eventually achieving victory over it. Details of this process have been explained in the following articles

The process of catharsis explained in terms of software development analogy

Does an empty mind make you feel restless?

After one has successfully handled the root cause of the thought, it will lose its significance and shall not bother the meditator during that particular meditation or for that matter any subsequent meditation in his life. One can then return back to the step from where one diverged and then continue the process. I term this form of meditation as the “Fighting Meditation”.

Benefits of “Fighting Meditation”

  • The meditator heals a part of himself permanently by going through catharsis while doing meditation. The fact that he desired the fruit of meditation was the motivating factor behind achieving success in catharsis.
  • The meditator has a feeling of success instead of guilt. Earlier every time the mind went astray there was a feeling of guilt of not being able to concentrate. Now that feeling of guilt is transformed into an experience of ecstasy even before the successful completion of meditation.
  • Though it now takes more time to complete meditation, one does achieve success in it. Earlier chances of failure in meditation were more.

Conclusion

“Fighting Meditation” mixes traditional meditation with the process of catharsis to achieve the benefits of both the world. A meditator not only achieves a feeling of ecstasy by successfully achieving stillness of mind but also by resolving a deeper conflict existing in his subconscious, he becomes a more loving and happy person.

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Utpal Kumar

Utpal Kumar

Interested in the psychology behind human functioning. I write on a variety of topics with most of them dealing with personal development | MS in CS from UCSD