By Andrew Jovanovic, MA, LPC, CYT-200
Riddle me this…
I am something you do without thinking about. I am something that you rely upon daily. I am an overused muscle. What am I? I am thinking!
Think, think, think, that is what we do all day long. When we were younger, we were instructed in how to think. The development of intelligence needed to be put towards the problems of life. As we grew up, this skill at whatever level, became automatic for us, and we engage with thoughts. Often without realizing that we are once again…thinking! Before we realize it, this automatic habit to think can gain a life of its own and really change the course of subsequent thoughts.
It makes sense that this could happen. When I reflect upon my daily life, I notice how often I need to engage in thinking: I problem solve, sure, but many other thoughts are out of worry or fear about something in the past or future. Other thoughts are to understand a situation. Or sometimes I mindlessly wander off in the mazes of thought that change from day to day, from issue to issue. My world appears to not always need a thought or opinion but like air, the thoughts are always around. Thinking and thoughts are like air. They can breathe new life into a situation and help inspire further productive thoughts and actions. But also, like air, they can be turbulent, rapidly and randomly changing – providing endless opportunity for further worry. Thinking is useful, but often times it is overused and skewed by our emotional states.
The skills of untangling thoughts from emotion and putting them to inspirational, intentional use can be grown in many ways. For the most part, it depends on what works best for you. One option is the meditation known as the Body Scan Meditation. The Body Scan Meditation is different in some ways when compared to other meditations. In the Body Scan, you focus on the physical sensations of your body. Physical sensations do not think, and they do not have emotions. They are just our senses perceiving raw information. By increasing your willingness and awareness to scan the body you increase your capacity to be selective in what you focus on.
This meditation aims at reducing our reliance on thinking by emphasizing and strengthening our ability to stop actively thinking and holding onto thoughts and release into feeling. Feeling is not thinking. Feeling is experiencing the physical sensations of the body as they develop and dissipate in the present moment. By feeling, the body begins to calm down because our thoughts are not the focus and are not continuously alarming our body into action. Allowing the practitioner to, in general, calm down.
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If you are interested in learning about this great type of meditation, I am teaching a 5-week Body Scan Meditation course, starting Thursday, March 23 at 5pm. The course is held on Google Meet with registration to participate. Each week we will go over a concept related to the body scan meditation and practice meditating. We will start with a 3-minute body scan and by the end of the class we will practice for 30 minutes. This class will fill up quickly with only 5 spots available to ensure a cozy environment for everyone to engage in. To register, or if you have questions, please check out the course page here.