“What consumes your mind, controls your life,” how true is that? Our thoughts have a great and uncanny power, which we often struggle to understand. What we think about an event or situation inevitably leads to an emotional response. Emotions lead to actions and actions lead to outcomes. In this way, our minds can shape our reality. When thoughts become too overwhelming and distressing, cultivating awareness is key. In this Monthly Positivity blog, Richard Packer from the US shares his experience taming the mind and becoming more mindful through meditation.
I retired from the Army while learning my way out of religion; both authoritarian structures with defined measures of success I’d used as scaffolding to construct my worldview and persona. I spent a few years spiritually lost and drifting without defined moral anchors; not knowing what’s real and what to live for. I held everything as suspect and whittled down my beliefs to only what is provable or knowable.
I used to feel trapped by my thoughts. If my brain was turning, then I was stuck on the ride until it stopped. I’d ruminate for hours on past mistakes and commiserate for days over inconsequential failures stealing happiness from the life I’ve built and want to live.
Sleep used to be a huge and seemingly unsolvable problem. I’d learned to cope with little and intermittent sleep in the military and didn’t understand how critical good rest is to wellness. I often didn’t sleep so much as wait until morning to get back to work. My brain wouldn’t stop churning about all the worries, trials, and responsibilities of life. Common torture was not being able to sleep due to worrying over how little sleep I was getting. I’d wake in the night, look at the clock, and begin hours of dread knowing I was stuck worrying about how awful the next day would be without a good night’s rest.
Discovering sound meditation
I began searching for ways to build and grow again. I wanted to learn meditation and how to better cope with thoughts and feelings. That’s about the time I committed to Synctuition. I was nervous but wanted to learn about meditation. It took about six months for me to ‘feel’ a difference in my head while meditating, to settle into awareness instead of generating new thoughts to distract me.
I’d often finish a meditation and realize I had no idea what I’d been listening to. This happens sometimes when I’m reading, too. Suddenly, I’ll realize I have no idea what I’ve read since I was going through the motions while focused on my own thoughts. So, like reading, I’d go back and start over where I dropped off. If I mentally skipped a track, then I’d try that session again next time. I’ve learned to see inner dialogue and thoughts as aspects of me instead of who I am and discovered a calmer, more aware me to develop and rely on.
I learned to feel subtle “pressure differences”. I’m not a neuroscientist and haven’t had an MRI or anything, but think I’m feeling where blood is pooled in my brain. When I focus the pressure/blood from my Default Mode Network into my frontal cortex, I can feel my thoughts and worries fade. I settle into awareness and try to stay there calmly listening and feeling until I fall asleep.
Achieving greater awareness
Now that I can choose when to think and when to simply be aware of my feelings and the world around me, I’m no longer a hostage to memories of past embarrassments or fears of what might be. If I don’t enjoy what’s in my head, I can choose to not think instead. I’m a calmer and kinder person. I don’t get nearly as angry or experience intense negative emotions since I can choose to prevent thoughts from becoming actions that could hurt others, myself, or the life I want to live.
Synctuition helped me learn to step out of this negative feedback loop and develop life-changing sleep habits. I no longer endure sleepless nights. Before, I’d often stay up late and avoid sleep until I couldn’t keep my eyes open so I’d be sure to fall deep and hard into oblivion. Now, I have a routine where my reward for making it through another day is drifting off with Synctuition.
Synctuition has become my nightly reward for another day well-lived and my first step towards trying for better tomorrow. By practicing mindfulness each night I’ve learned to quiet my ego and enjoy consistent and rejuvenating sleep.
We would like to know your story!
Has meditation positively transformed your life? Is there a powerful story you would like to tell? The Synctuition team is looking for inspirational experiences to share on our Monthly Positivity blogs. Simply send us a brief bio and a summary of your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!