Strengthening Focus - Working With The Resistance In Meditation
by Jelena Duma
November 14, 2011
Strengthening focus is an important part in meditation. There are many different focal points and they depend on the type of the meditation that we choose to practice. They could be: the observance of our breathing; monitoring our thoughts or body feelings; focusing on the sound of the teacher’s voice in guided meditations; or the sound of the meditator’s voice while chanting; gazing into the picture or the eyes of another practitioner etc. When focus becomes strong, the practitioner is able to go deeper and is able to evoke all subliminal resources from his/her unconscious mind. Those resources can help us with healing and connecting to our creativity.
With a strong focus in meditation, we are able to diminish awareness of everything around us. By doing that, the world of our inner mind (our unconscious) becomes our space to explore. When we discover that powerful space, we start to enjoy the feeling of being in it - there is nothing to do in there, nothing to say and nowhere to go. Just by being in that space, we begin to feel a sense of detachment from any physical disease, stress, emotional disturbance or trauma, mental disorder or addiction. The feeling of detachment can help us examine what needs to be healed and can help us evoke the specific inner resource we need for healing. All of us have tremendous healing capacities and they become available when we connect to them.
However, during meditation we experience resistance. It feels like there is a natural resistance to stillness and quiet of the mind. The resistance can manifest on many levels:
Physical, in the form of itchiness, dryness in our throat and coughing, yawning, sneezing, pain in certain parts of the body, numbness in legs, arms, feet and hands, etc.
On a mental level we could have thoughts like: this is boring, it is silly, it doesn’t make any sense, I hate it, let’s go and do something more interesting, fantasizing, planning, trying to solve all sorts of problems, sleeping etc.
On an emotional level could be a feeling of anger or that we are going to explode if we sit just for one more second, irritation, fear, deep sorrow and sadness, crying, laughing etc.
On a spiritual level we could have all sorts of spiritual fantasies or a disconnection form our source, our true essence.
All those resistances play a big part during our meditation. Those are not negative experiences - they show us who we are and what we are built of. Just by learning how to observe and live with our resistances, we create detachment from them. Over time we move deeper in our meditation and allow positive changes to take place. We get to know ourselves better and can stay in peace with ourselves and the world around us.
Tips to work with resistances:
- Know that the resistance is a companion, not an enemy
- Know that there is no need to fix or change the experience
- Stay away from judging the experience of the meditation, whatever is happening on any level simply allow to unfold
- If the mind starts to wander, slowly and gently bring it back to focus
- Do not force any thought, emotion or feeling in the body. Be gentle with your mind and body
- If something is scary, uncomfortable or unknown, allow your breath to deepen and move back to the focus of your meditation
- If the experience becomes unbearable, do what you need to do in order to feel safe again. Gradually build tolerance to the experience
- Know that whatever your experience is, it shall pass – good or bad ones
- Even when you aren't meditating, observe what the resistances are to the focus of your daily tasks
- Know that by doing this deep self-reflective work, you are building tolerance and acceptance of yourself.
Read also The Benefits of Meditation
Bliss Yoga Studio is presenting a new meditation workshop on Friday evenings. Read more at http://blissyogastudio.net/blog/meditation-to-heal-and-balance-with-jelena/