All The Plates Will Fall – Resistance to Meditation Part III

I am still resistant to doing meditation and I apparently have an abundance of excuses about why I can’t meditate. I find that mildly humorous since I have been re-reading one of my favorite books, Eat Pray Love, in which there is at least a third of the book that addresses meditation.

One of my excuses is that it feels like all of the plates will fall down (the ones I have to keep spinning) if I stop to meditate. Although not as bad as at other times in my life, I often feel frantic because of all that I try to do and accomplish. Just a momentary lapse in trying to control my universe feels like it would be a disaster.

illustration for karate chop point

Setup (Karate Chop point) – Even though I am still resisting meditation I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway. Even though I have what seems to be a million excuses why I can’t meditate, I choose to relax and know that I am ok just as I am. Even though it often feels like the world will tumble down around me if I stop to meditate for even a minute, I love and accept myself with or without all of my excuses.

diagram of the tapping points

Eyebrow…I am still resisting meditation

Side of Eye…No matter how much I promise myself that I will do it

Under the Eye…I just can’t seem to stop for long enough

Under the Nose…And just considering it feels like I am courting disaster

Chin…While I logically know that meditation will help me do almost anything better

Collarbone…And with more ease

Under the Arm…It feels just the opposite

Top of Head…If feels like stopping to meditate

Eyebrow…Will allow all of those plates that I am trying to keep spinning in my life

Side of Eye…To fall to the ground and smash into tiny pieces

Under the Eye…Nothing but constant vigilance

Under the Nose…Can keep that from happening

Chin…This doesn’t seem to be just about meditation

Collarbone…But also about the lifestyle that I have accepted

Under the Arm…I may have to address more than one thing

Top of Head…In order to be successful with meditation

Eyebrow…I choose to consider the possibility

Side of Eye…That all of this is an illusion

Under the Eye…To keep myself safe

Under the Nose…Safe from what?

Chin…Probably safe from myself

Collarbone…Just like avoiding meditation, I can be my own worst enemy

Under the Arm…It might be time to consider a change

Top of Head…I could gently put down the plates

Eyebrow…I could ask someone to spin them for me

Side of Eye…Or I could let the plates take care of themselves during my meditation time

Under the Eye…The plates obviously take care of themselves when I am sleeping and my world doesn’t crumble

Under the Nose…The plates obviously take care of themselves when I am at work (at least most of the time)

Chin…I think I have revealed this to just be an excuse

Collarbone…And now I might consider letting it go

Under the Arm…I may still resist meditation and that is ok

Top of Head…But fear of falling plates is not a valid reason to avoid it

Take a deep breath and let it out gently. It is likely that different thoughts popped into your mind. For me, I think I have some work to do about my serious control issues.

Happy Tapping.

I’m Not Good At It – Resistance To Meditation Part II

If you’ve been following along you know that I have a resistance to meditation even though I know all of the benefits, have recommended it to others, and generally believe it would be a good thing in my life. An earlier post described one of my excuses that it takes too long. Today’s post addresses a second excuse “I’m not good at it.”

illustration for karate chop point

Setup (Karate Chop Point) – Even though I’m not good at meditation, I’m okay. Even though I’m not good at meditation, and I have lots of examples to support that, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and my belief that I have to be good at everything I do. Even though I’m not good at meditation, I choose to relax and go with the flow.

diagram of the tapping points

Eyebrow…I’m not good at meditation

Side of Eye…And I’ve got proof

Under the Eye…As soon as I sit to meditate something hurts

Under the Nose…And that distracts me

Chin…And I have to move to make it stop hurting

Collarbone…And then when that stops hurting

Under the Arm…Then something else starts to hurt

Top of Head…So I never get anything accomplished by trying to meditate

Eyebrow…I’m not good at meditation

Side of Eye…I get a serious case of monkey brain

Under the Eye…The thoughts in my head seem to actually speed up

Under the Nose…Until there are no gaps between them

Chin…It could be my to-do list

Collarbone…It could be random things like why grapes come in so many different colors

Under the Arm…Or trying to decide what book I want to read next

Top of Head…So I never get anything accomplished when I try to meditate

Eyebrow…I’m not good at meditation

Side of Eye…A lot of the time if I am too comfortable I fall asleep

Under the Eye…While that may address the relaxation part of meditation

Under the Nose…It does nothing to help with learning to control my mind

Chin…And isn’t that the point of it all?

Collarbone…I seem to have a lot of rules and expectations about meditation for myself

Under the Arm…That I don’t have for anyone else

Top of Head…And they are getting in my way

Eyebrow…Monkey Brain is just part of the process

Side of Eye…And so are the distractions coming from my body

Under the Eye…I know I am not supposed to judge them

Under the Nose…But I definitely do

Chin…I judge the distractions and I judge myself for having them

Collarbone…I think it is time for a different approach

Under the Arm…I’ve done long weekends of meditation before

Top of Head…And they were generally miserable

Eyebrow…But it doesn’t have to miserable when I meditate on my own

Side of Eye…There are no rules

Under the Eye…Unless I make them

Under the Nose…I could choose to take a gentler approach

Chin…And I could even redefine what being good at meditation means

Collarbone…I like that idea. I could define being good at meditation with being consistent

Top of Head…Beginning today, being good at meditation simply means doing meditation.

Need to learn more about tapping? Click here.

It Takes Too Long – Resistance to Meditation Part 1.

I promised you a tapping exercise to address resistance to meditation and I’m a girl who keeps her promises, except those made to herself when I promise I’m going to meditate. Guess how many times I meditated since I posted the article about the benefits of meditation. That’s right! Zero! I had better get started tapping to discover what the problem(s) actually might be.

The first excuse that popped into my head was “It takes too long.” I’m going to use that as my problem statement or MPI (most pressing issue) and I would rate that as an 8 on my 10-point SUD scale. (Very true)

illustration for karate chop point

Setup (karate chop point) – Even though I can’t meditate because it takes too long, I deeply and completely love and accept myself right now. Even though I can’t meditate because it takes to long and I already feel like there are not enough hours in the day, I deeply and completely love and accept myself right now and am open to new wisdom. Even though I can’t meditate because it takes too long, I love myself and accept myself, even with my excuses, and am open to seeing this in a different way.

diagram of the tapping points

Eyebrow…I can’t meditate

Side of Eye…It takes too long

Under the Eye…I don’t have enough time

Under the Nose…For all of the things I need to do

Chin…Or the things I want to do

Collarbone…This resistance to meditation

Under the Arm…It takes too long

Top of Head…I can’t meditate

Eyebrow…I can’t quit going to work

Side of Eye…And I really can’t go without my sleep

Under the Eye…My exercising is important too

Under the Nose…Nobody would tell me to quit exercising

Chin…I guess I can’t meditate

Collarbone…I wonder if there is a different way to look at this?

Under the Arm…I don’t think so

Top of Head…But what if there is?

Eyebrow…The article in Science Daily said that the benefits show up after just one meditation session

Side of Eye…If that is true it could make everything else I do easier

Under the Eye…And more effective

Under the Nose…Creating even more time for meditation

Chin…But it feels like I will have to give something up

Collarbone…And probably something I enjoy

Under the Arm…Or can already see the benefit of doing

Top of Head…I DO NOT want to give anything up

Eyebrow…If time is really my issue

Side of Eye…I wonder if there is some other way

Under the Eye…I really do believe that meditation is beneficial

Under the Nose…And I feel like a hypocrite

Chin…I’ve been recommending meditation to other people for years

Collarbone…I ususally tell them that they don’t have to do it for a long time

Under the Arm…And that they can start with just 5 minutes if that is all the time they can spare

Top of Head…If I’m really honest, I probably could find 5 minutes

Eyebrow…I could probably dedicate 5 minutes at work

Side of Eye…Which is my least favorite portion of my day

Under the Eye…And when I need it most

Under the Nose…I’d probably have to set a reminder on my phone

Chin…Because there is always work to fill that time

Collarbone…If I don’t set a high priority reminder.

Under the Arm..I don’t have time to meditate

Top of Head…Truthfully, yes I do.

Taking a deep breath and letting it out gently. When I say that problem statement again the intensity is down to about a 3 or 4. That’s a lot better but I know I haven’t cleared the whole issue because my certainty that I will meditate tomorrow at work is still pretty low. That means that my resistance to meditation must have several different aspects (factors) that create the problem. If I were to take a wild guess, some of the aspects that still need work are my belief that I’m not very good at it (from past experience), my anxiety that I will not be able to put all of my other stressors aside for even 5 minutes without more stress building up, and some internal dialogue that somehow I must be inadequate because I need meditation. Those thoughts came up in the background while doing the previous tapping and should keep me busy for a while.

I hope you tapped along and found it useful. I’d love to hear about your experiences with the tapping. Let me know what happened for you or how you motivate yourself to meditate.

Happy Tapping!

No Thanks, I Want to Keep My Anxiety

“No thanks, I want to keep my anxiety.” Can you imagine saying that? Or perhaps you might say, I’m too busy to take the time to meditate. Unfortunately those two statements are the same. Researchers in Michigan have found that anxiety (and cardiovascular disease) can be decreased with only ONE mindfulness meditation session.

Confession time: Although meditation is on my daily to-do list EVERY SINGLE DAY, I rarely do it. I always think I’m either too busy, too tired, or will get to it tomorrow. Reading about the study in Science Daily was a fantastic reminder.

It sure is a good thing I know tapping. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to do a series of tapping exercises to help clarify my resistance to meditating regularly. At this point I have no idea what the problem is, but I’m sure that I don’t want to keep my anxiety! Don’t worry I intent to share my tapping.

Experimental Biology 2018. “Even a single mindfulness meditation session can reduce anxiety: People with anxiety show reduced stress on the arteries after 1-hour introductory session.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2018.

Ugh – Time to Meditate

Monk meditatingMeditation is good for me.   I think most people would admit to that.  I am personally guilty of letting anything and everything interfere with my plan to meditate.  That is true whether I am planning to meditate for 5 minutes or for an hour.  Fighting against the resistance has been futile.  Tapping about the resistance has been beneficial.

 

 

illustration for karate chop pointSay these words while tapping on the karate chop point: Even though I am resistant to meditation, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.  Even though I am resistant to meditation, I love and accept myself, including my resistance.  Even though I am resistant to meditating, I deeply and completely love all of me.

 

 

diagram of the tapping pointsEyebrow…I resist meditating

Side of Eye…I’ve done it before

Under the Eye…And in my head I can acknowledge the benefit

Under the Nose…So it is somewhat confusing to me that I am so resistant

Chin…Even when I put it on my to-do list, I don’t

Collarbone…Some forms of meditation have been pretty difficult for me

Under the Arm… But other practices have been successful

Top of Head…I guess I’m not completely convinced

Eyebrow…That the benefit justifies the time

Side of Eye…That can’t be true

Under the Eye…I waste lots of time

Nose…On the computer

Chin…Watching TV

Collarbone…On Social Media

Under the Arm…And that time could be spent in meditation

Top of Head…Time spent meditating

Eyebrow…Has to be more beneficial

Side of Eye…Than playing games on my phone

Nose…So that leaves me wondering what the real issue is

Chin…So even though I am resisting meditating

Collarbone…I choose to remain open to the possibility

Under the Arm…That I could change my attitude about this

Top of Head…Meditating is another tool I can use

Eyebrow…To enhance my mental, physical, and spiritual health

Side of Eye…I choose to begin meditating more often

Under the Eye…Just to see where it leads

Nose…If I’m not feeling the benefit

Chin…I give myself permission to use my time in another way

Collarbone…I also choose to experiment

Under the Arm…With a variety of meditation methods

Top of Head…I could consider it an experiment

Eyebrow…I could consider it play

Side of Eye…I could consider it therapy

Under the Eye…I could consider it spiritual practice

Nose…I choose to explore the role of meditation in my life

Chin…My resistance is just another piece of information

Collarbone…About myself

Under the Arm…It would be awesome to learn from this

Top of Head…And more fully understand this part of who I am.

 

Everything Needs Exercise – Even Your Anterior Cingulate Cortex

Meditation is a form of mental discipline.  There are many forms and styles of meditation. One is to follow or focus on your breath.  Other people may meditate while focusing on an icon or object. Reciting a mantra can be useful for other people.  Guided meditation in which one imagines a scene or event can also be used. The regular practice of meditation has been found to be useful in reducing stress, enhancing physical and emotional health, and improving life satisfaction.

It has become common knowledge that meditation masters like Buddhist monks can achieve amazing things through the power of their minds. Now scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have identified the brain area involved. A report in Science Daily revealed that the anterior cingulate cortex that governs thinking and emotion and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex that controls worrying are both impacted by meditation. The activation of these two areas can reduce anxiety ratings by almost 40%. Just think of it – no medications, no side effects, no doctor bills, increased tranquility, and increased wellbeing.

Give it a try.  I’ve included a basic meditation exercise for you below.

Following the Breath Meditation.

  1. Sit comfortably.  You can sit on a floor, a cushion, or a chair.  Avoid positions that are so relaxed that you might fall asleep.
  2. Close your eyes.  This will help to reduce distraction. If closing your eyes causes anxiety for you, gaze gently at an object.
  3. Take a few deep breaths.  Then, breathe naturally. Some people find it helpful to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  4. Focus on your body sensations including the points of contact between you and the world.  Is there warmth, tingling, pressure, or vibration?
  5. Focus your attention on your breathing.
  6. Whenever your mind wanders away from your breath (and it will!), gently return to noticing your breathing. It is not necessary to judge these thoughts or reprimand yourself for your mind wandering. The ability to disconnect from our thoughts takes practice.

Namaste.

 

The complete Wake Forest study can be found at:

F. Zeidan, K.T. Martucci, R.A. Kraft, J.G. Coghill. Neural Correlates of Mindfulness Meditation-Related Anxiety Relief. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2013; DOI: 10.1093/scan/nst041.

Book Review – Breaking Free

I’m not sure what I thought Breaking Free by Chet Vosloo was going to be about.  It was on my Kindle and I was bored and needed something to read so I opened it up.  At first I thought it was going to be a contemporary romance.  It seemed to be a guy hanging out in bars, sleeping around, and generally sailing aimlessly though life. Then, it seemed to be an adventure story. He started traveling to remote places and bicycling across continents and getting altitude sickness while climbing a mountain.

Then came the spiritual and psychological stories. The main character experienced significant anxiety issues and had physical consequences from that anxiety. The book then follows his quite interesting and unique journey to “Break Free” from his limiting beliefs while living in Asia, an ashram, and in an entourage following a guru.

There were several things that really captured my interest.  First was the author’s description of monkey mind, that distinctly annoying thing that happens when one first attempts to meditate and control one’s thoughts. The weekend meditation workshops that I participated in were some of the most physically, emotionally, and mentally draining activities I have every chosen to attend. When I first became aware that I couldn’t purposefully harness my thoughts for more than a few seconds at a time it was quite an eye opener.  Even more shocking was the “no way, no how” reaction that my brain expressed when I made the attempt.

Second, the author did a fantastic job describing the physical manifestations of emotional dis-ease.  The physical problems are real, but the origin isn’t necessarily in the body. This is something I experience personally and have seen in my professional practice for decades.  This is proof again that the body, mind, and spirit and completely and inextricably intertwined.

If you enjoy reading about intercontinental adventures, this book is for you. If you benefit from reading self-help books, this book is for you.  If you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, or low self-esteem, this book is for you. If you need an entertaining reminder of the importance of self-control, spiritual development, and the connectedness of the universe, this book is for you.

Peace in – Peace out!

I know that many people have developed the habit of starting the morning with the news, whether print or digital. That habit can have some merit since you can prepare for the weather, have the latest news to discuss with colleagues, or enjoy a chuckle if you are reading the comics.  The downside is that you are also exposing yourself to all of the negativity that has accumulated in the world the night before.  Have you ever wondered how reading about murder, theft, hunger, poverty, corruption, and deceit might impact your day?

I have found that I often start my day at a full sprint.  I pop out of bed and fly through my morning performing tasks at superhero speed trying to get as many things done in as short a time as possible.  Again, this has both positive aspects as well as hazards.  When in sprint mode I can cross many things off of my to-do list and give the appearance to myself and others that I am amazingly efficient and effective.  But at what cost?  After this sprint to get things done I am usually too tired and too grumpy to enjoy the free time that I expected to have later.  Truthfully, when in that mode I suspect that I’m not all that pleasant to be around either.

At different times in my life I have made the effort to exercise first thing in the morning.  I got up very early and dedicated that time to riding my stationary bike.  Most of the time I also had some positive attitude or personal growth CD playing in the background.  The combination was fantastic.  I know other people use yoga, meditation, spiritual study, prayer, or running as a way to get their day started in the right direction.

Other times, and prior to the time change (now sunrise comes after my work day begins), I took my dogs on a short walk to get some fresh air and exercise and to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.  They felt better.  I felt better.  That feeling persisted throughout my morning at work.  Once darkness and black ice interfered with our early morning walks I began using inspirational CDs during my commute to gently lead my mind where I wanted it to go. Most mornings you will find me listening to WayneGirl with headphones in the snow Dyer, Anthony Robbins, or the Dalai Lama.  I confess that during the Christmas holiday season (starting around Halloween for me) I listen to endless hours of Christmas music instead becauase I adore it.

I am trying to be more aware of my mindset at the beginning of my day and have noticed that when I do plan for a peaceful start that I have a more peaceful day.  I can tell a difference in the way I feel about the world, myself, and the people I meet when I have made a conscious choice to start my day in this manner.  It does take some planning and intention to manage my time in the morning so that this is possible.  It is all too easy for me to just hit the floor running.  But, much like the garbage in – garbage out metaphor in computing, peace in – peace out seems to be every bit as true.

Mise en place

Are you impressed with my French?  Don’t be. Not only do I not speak French, I stink at mise en place.  I watch many cooking shows.  In fact, I’m somewhat addicted to them.  I’ve heard Alton Brown and others preach mise en place.  But do I practice it? NO!!! For example, one day I started putting together a great Tuscan Bean Soup but dumped the onions in the oil to saute long before I had even retrieved the garlic from the cupboard or the carrots from the refrigerator.

I’ve been pondering this personal deficit for a while now and it truly baffles me. I’m a person who makes lists.  My daily schedule in on an Excel spreadsheet and I dutifully remove things as they are completed. Usually the tasks are even recorded in order. The list might include thawing meat for tomorrow’s dinner, or staging the items I plan to take to the office the next day.  So my mise en place failure isn’t an inability to plan ahead.

I’m not a terribly patient person though. I can look patient, but on the inside I’m usually quite the opposite. I do find it hard to wait for the things I want or the activities I want to do. I’ve learned to cope with it though, so I can generally stay within a financial or time budget.

After reading an article about mise en place I think I may have found the answer. Mise en place can also be about attitude. If I fail to prepare my attitude or thoughts, the behavior is more erratic. I think this could be a lesson that far transcends the kitchen.

If you have a pre-cooking attitude adjuster that works for you…..please share.