(aka your mind is EVERYTHING)
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation? He replied, ‘Nothing.’ ‘However,’ he said, ‘let me tell you what I lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear, and death.’
We are all trying to find our purpose in life. Before I started meditation, my mind raced, I didn’t understand self-love, and I didn’t realize my true potential.
The aim of my meditation journey was to reprogram my mind and live with purpose… and it helped me do just that.
8 years ago I found myself dreading the feeling of “pain” that was inside of me. The feeling of pain alone prevented me from realizing my full potential in all things – relationships, goals, and work. I blamed others for the feelings I had inside of me that caused me to feel pain in some regard. It wasn’t until I started to self-educate myself on meditation, and then began performing it that I realized I was responsible for my own feelings.
You know, ‘being responsible for your own feelings’ is still new to a lot of people. And it’s okay. But ultimately through meditation, I came to realize how powerful the mind really is. As empathetic as I was with friends, as well as when I was in a relationship, it was sometimes very emotional if I felt that simple logic wasn’t used, or if my over-trustworthiness was taken for granted. Because I knew how loyal I was, for example, I would be very upset and pained by a significant other who blatantly flirted in front of me, or got way too “close” to others, even making the person they were flirting with feel awkward and out of place. These are examples that I see people go through now, younger and older.
But the fact remains: whether we are at work, in a heated argument, or on the train listening to someone go on about religious warfare: we are responsible for our feelings. Our reactions to things and circumstances come from within us. We may feel that they are caused by external factors, but we should understand that our emotions are there for a reason. But emotions are not there to linger. Trapped emotions cause illness and cause us to feel powerless. Trapped emotions can also make us act different. For example, trapped emotions, such as anger, insecurity, or sadness, can make us unaligned with our authentic self, and make us act uptight or rigid. The more we act further from “ourselves”, the more frustrated we get because we are acting from a distinct emotion. And the longer that emotion stays, the stronger that emotion becomes.
Since I was 19, I poured my heart into books, self-love books, energy awareness and purpose, but most of all, I learned how to meditate.
I have practiced meditation roughly every day for the last 5 years. And it has helped put my thoughts in order and achieve things I would never have been able to achieve unless I meditated. I got so into meditation that I am now the author of a mindfulness and meditation textbook for doctors and clinicians.
Here is how you can understand and develop a meditation mind set, and why it is very important to finding your purpose.
From an early age, we are programmed with beliefs, values, and perceptions, but limited awareness. Thoughts initiate every action, consciously or unconsciously. Harmful thoughts can weigh us down and materialize in our bodies as illness.
Our thoughts and mental states can affect our bodies, vital organs, blood flow, cells and even regulation of our genes. We can switch genes “on and off” with meditation. 21st-century science is still uncovering all of meditation’s benefits and that science is still very much “limited”. Meditation has turned from a “spiritual” practice to a “scientific” one, which has thus turned meditation today into a spiritual “culture.” I discuss this reality further in my new book, Common Pain Conditions (2017) with Elsevier Health Sciences.
Beginners may not fully understand the mechanisms of meditation or the science that has just only come out into the mainstream, including the drastic changes our brains undergo after meditation.
Underestimating the power of the mind and not understanding the mind’s full potential is limiting your full potential and limiting your lifestyle.
Meditation is a powerful way to steer our mindful intentions and prevent an autopilot version of ourselves to play out and hold our thoughts in bondage.With my meditation obsession, or rather habit, I’ve trained my mind to “be”. I can meditate for hours. Meditation enforces our true god-given abilities and provides us a positive and powerful vision to the world. In retrospect, we can contemplate our past, and label or change our perception of painful situations so that we may live in a healthier present in the now.
Meditation can be a life-saving defense to deflect the negative thoughts in your life.
Positive affirmations can only go so far when you have literal movie trailers playing, pictures and a handful of thoughts or visions that are harmful and debilitating. The mind is the most imaginative place to create the world (envisioning in the “mind’s eye”) where we may not necessarily live – such as envisioning harmful events or situations before they happen – which is also a form of anxiety. We must use these thoughts in an effort to understand, when we think ahead of the possible outcomes, versus being worried all the time and creating unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Even though I mostly mention thoughts, good or bad feelings can also create good or bad thoughts. Emotions are different from feelings as “feelings” or “vibes” are known to be more of an intuitive awareness. Emotions and feelings are very powerful triggers that may lead to negative thoughts, and, vice versa. We have inherited programmed reactions to our thoughts, emotions, and feelings through our ancestors, our genes, and our survival mechanisms.
Today, we have a lot more distractions than we have ever had. Imagine sitting in a forest two centuries ago and someone of that era (for example, Thoreau) being disturbed by birds chirping. This just would not be the case. Of course, people had their own set of “distractions” back then – but if you really think of the materialist 21st century as a realist – we have become a materialist, technology-induced fast-paced society who wards off the idea to “stop”. Now be an opportunist, and read on!
The Forest is like “The Mind”
One of the quietest places on Earth is the forest in the winter. (Thoreau said to that to contemplate or mediate, we must cultivate “a mind of winter”). Without a sound – or in this case – without a thought, the mind is at peace, and thus mindful meditating – being in the present moment – is accomplished. You must discover what lies there in your mind to filter and remove. You are a unique and intelligent being meant to look at what lies beneath the surface. Only you have been through what you have been through. The forest can be “chatty” in the Spring and Summer. Just like the former analogy, training your mind to be aware of the moment-to-moment aspects of the chattiness, and quietness, will ultimately help you see what you need to work on.
This boils down to two questions that you need to ask yourself: What are your primary thoughts? Is your mind ever quiet?
The deep forest shows the depth and awareness that is available to us. Meditation offers a “safe-zone” independent of harmful thoughts. Most of us have two energetic selves with which we are programmed at a young age – we contain a divide of two parallel mindsets. There is a negative and a positive mindset. The “negative” parallel side of you is not a real parallel of your positive, but a “made-up” parallel side that was created by you. You will suffer from this negative parallel side and be limited.
Negative thoughts can be cautious and crafty at times, and enter your mind during a beautiful and surreal moment or mindset. During a positive moment or positive day, you are more likely to “catch” negative thoughts. For example, you are having the best day of your life, and suddenly feel your mind switch to the negative side, just to be “negative,” and then a negative thought crosses your mind. People that go through such a moment usually have a sudden awakening, when they become aware of this negative thought that just entered their mind and ask, “Now why did I think of that?”
When you practice meditation, the negative parallel of your positive mindset decreases in size and influence. You are left with the stronger positive parallel. This “positive parallel” is your true, most authentic self, free from fear, old beliefs and thought patterns. Your positive parallel changes your internal compass toward the direction of your individual authentic purpose. The feeling of inner-connectedness will not transpire until the inner-self is no longer divided. The “connectedness of all things” has been a theorized by physicists for a long time – and more recently – has expanded to the connection of every living thing – such as people are connected to other people in a unified field.
What I Have Accomplished with Meditation
I practiced meditation with purpose, diligence, concentration and attention. That’s how I wrote this entire article. Through my own meditation experiences that have shaped my mind to think better, achieve more in less time and understand the power of my thoughts.
My original purpose for starting meditation was to be able to concentrate for longer than 5 minutes without a thought coming into my mind – and oh, how this assertion in itself was harder than I imagined when it actually came to sitting down and completing it! I started practicing deep meditation by focusing all of my attention on a “dot”. I made this dot on my wall in my apartment in Brooklyn, NY in 2011 and 2012. Now, why did I mention Brooklyn? To give you a sense of where I was when I began meditating, so as to not get discouraged – I was not in the middle of a forest. Some of the greatest people did walk in forests, like some of the great poets and thinkers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, or Mark Twain.
Meditation Takes Time
Like a pristine wristwatch, all the intricate details are a masterful representation of how the mind works together to bring about change in your thinking. The most important thing you are aware of on a watch is “the time,”but in meditation, the most important thing you are aware of is “the moment”… so time drifts by, off to the side.
However, the “time” it takes to truly practice meditation, does take some time. There are faster ways to achieve a total state of present-moment awareness, and those techniques are found in a few books I will personally recommend to you – one of which, I have c0-authored with . I have a 3-Step formula for new beginners in meditation that can be found on my website. Staying “grounded” – the ability to anchor energy firmly into the present moment is one of the best skills that are acquired through meditation.
Remember, the universe took billions of years to emerge, transform and create itself. Do not use force in order to achieve purpose, inspiration, and connection. Within 2 years of meditating, my mind was at ease and I understood self-love and my full potential. Your mind is a universal roadmap of skill and through these skills it creates form. The mind is precisely that which an artist creates.