NYC Therapist Talks- presents Meditation in Therapy and turning off the noise
Remember the ABC’s we talk about all over this site. A is the Activating Event, B are the beliefs in your head (thoughts/cognitions) about that event, and C is how you respond as a result of those beliefs. By practicing the ABC exercise, keeping in mind the unconditional self, other and life acceptance aspects, you can begin to change your thinking to behave in a more balanced way. But how do you just shut the thinking off? Prepare to have your mind blown by the awesomeness that is meditation. (The religious among you can calm down- meditation has nothing to do with religion.) Meditation is the absence of thought. It’s not prayer. It’s not being pensive and thinking things through. Similar to yoga, it’s not thinking. It’s turning off that chatter in your head that is going all the time, so much so that it just becomes background noise. (Though for some of us, it is a deafening roar.)
The whole thing is hilarious (“If you’re quiet, it’ll come”), but the most relevant part is at about 6 minutes in. This is the best illustration of racing thoughts I’ve ever heard.
So imagine a glass of water. It’s calm and clear with not much going on. But every once in a while, a little air bubble comes floating up to the top, then goes away. This is what you’re trying to get to in meditation, the mind as a clear glass of water. The thoughts that come are like the air bubbles. It happens, they call it practicing meditation- ie, it takes practice!! So let the thoughts come, and don’t chase them. When you chase them, you go from “I like grapes” to “moneyinthepantsmoneyinthepantsmoneyinthepantsmoneyinthepants”. And that’s like you’re clear glass of water just got a shot of carbonation- and carbonation is not exactly the path to clarity. When you let the thoughts happen, then let them go, then you’re on the right track. The same holds true when not meditating. If you know you’re going through a stressful time like a breakup, or a a big life change or family drama- you’re going to have some irrational beliefs going on in your head (those thoughts we have at B) which are then going to lead you to some sort of consequence, often an effed up one. So when you can allow yourself to have the thoughts to begin with, and even allow yourself to have the consequence (within reason) and not FUSE with those thoughts and chase after them, then they will pass. Otherwise, you’re just rehearsing them, rehashing them, further solidifying your fucked up consequences like panic, anxiety, guilt, shame, depression, anger, etc. Those feelings come from the “moneyinthepants” thoughts you have over and over in your head. Get back to that clear glass of water, and meditation can definitely be the key. If you’re interested in finding out more on meditation in therapy and yoga therapy in New York, check us out!