I am often asked, “What is meditation? How do you do it? And why do you do it?”
Let’s start with why I do it. I use meditation as a way to program my subconscious mind with the thoughts, feelings, expectations and emotions that I want to dominate my everyday living. When I say subconscious mind, I am referring to that part of the mind that seems to dominate when it comes to making life choices. Dr. George Pratt, a leader in the field, says that the subconscious mind is one million times more powerful than the conscious mind. Therefore, the subconscious mind must be on board and in agreement with any life choices you wish to make.
Now let’s talk about what mediation is and how to do it. Simply put, mediation is quieting the mind so there are no distractions and being completely receptive to the desired positive mental images you want to have and hold in your daily experiences.
Imagine a lake in the early moments at dawn and imagine it is still as glass; there’s not a ripple. The surface is completely motionless and smooth. When you look down, you see a perfect reflection of yourself.
When I meditate I am seeking the stillness and quiet that you’ve just imagined in this image of the lake. To achieve this quiet and still state, you can use guided meditation prepared by a professional, which is best for someone who is new to meditation. I began meditating by listening to 15-30 minute, audio clips recorded by Dr. George Pratt.
As I became more experienced, I found certain mental exercises to be extremely effective in quieting my mind. Eventually, I began self-meditation, recalling these key exercises, and didn’t return to the guided meditation. Once I achieved the calm and still state, I would then envision the positive images I wanted to be prevalent in my consciousness. I worked on two mental images. One was “perfect health” because I wanted to overcome the negative news of cancer and the fear of chemotherapy. The image that best reflected this perfect health state was a doctor’s visit several years earlier when my doctor pronounced that I was in excellent condition.
For my second positive image, I choose that of “perfect fitness” because I had been told the chemotherapy side effects could be so severe that they might be disabling. I’ve always been an active and athletic individual and the thought of being immobilized by the chemo was frightening. I didn’t want this fear to be dominant or even present in my mind. The positive mental image I choose occurred on Thanksgiving morning after I completed a half marathon run—I ran my personal best and had been preparing for this race for nearly a year. During my meditation I didn’t just recall finishing the race, I also replayed the strength I felt during the race, the challenge of maintaining my rhythm, the success I had in pacing with other, slightly faster, runners. I immersed my thinking and feeling on every aspect of my performance, including the endurance and focus of my breathing.
Positive mental imagery is a powerful form of affirmation. I try to develop images with great detail and precision, remembering also to capture the emotion I felt when the event occurred. I use meditation to ensure that these images are programmed into my thinking. In doing so, these images have become a dominant part of my consciousness. As life choices presented themselves during my chemotherapy, this positive programming became the fabric of my being!
I choose an active and engaged journey through my chemotherapy. I actually grew during the months of chemo from this experience.
See my video of a guided meditation at yourmentalmastery.com.
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