Mind of Teflon*

*NB: Not a lyric, as far as I know.

Today I’ll start with a quote:

Practice meditation regularly. Meditation leads to eternal bliss. Therefore meditate, meditate.

-Swami Sivananda

A lot of the work I’ve been doing in therapy has to do with cultivating mindfulness, and one way to do this is through meditation.  In therapy we use meditation techniques to reduce stress, to cope with difficult situations, and to develop our capacity to let go of the negative and hold on to the positive a bit more thoroughly.  For this reason, I’ve been making a conscious effort lately to get into meditation and to try to cultivate mindfulness while doing everyday things like commuting, brushing my teeth, eating my meals, etc.  By trying to silence my mind of all its nagging and useless thoughts, I’m hoping to be able to be more present in the moment in front of me, and get more out of the experience on the whole.

In paying more attention to my moods, I’ve realized that one thing that really makes a difference to me is whether I run in the morning or the afternoon.  Although I used to be firmly in the afternoon running camp, I’ve switched lately to morning running and I’ve found that there’s nothing better for clearing my mind and starting my day.  Lately though, as you all know, my running has been a little difficult as I’ve been having a hard time with pacing and my energy levels.  I thought about Allissa’s comment on my Fine Lines post and realized I really need to start thinking more about when I *want* to run versus when I feel like I *should* be running to burn calories.  Yesterday I skipped a run because I feel like it was a should run and not a want run.  This morning I was glad I’d skipped it because I woke up with energy and fresh legs, perfect physical and spiritual conditions for a run.

I’m reading a book right now called Wherever you go, There you are, which is about mindfulness, and as I mentioned before, I’ve been making quite an effort to be more mindful.  According to John Kabat-Zinn, author of the book, one way to incorporate meditation into your daily life is to do a walking meditation.  With that in mind, this morning I figured why not try a running meditation?  My goal was to keep my mind like Teflon–let thoughts come, but slip off the surface and not linger–while focusing on my breathing.  I repeated a single word to myself: “Breathe”.  I did this for 8.8 miles and finished feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, and not beaten up like I have the past few times I’ve run.  My pace was nothing to write home about, but for a run of this length, it wasn’t embarrassing either.  I felt steady and calm the entire time, and although there were some moments when thoughts would linger, for the most part I managed to keep my mind pretty clear.

There are so many ways to meditate and to be mindful, and I’m curious to know how many of you do any meditation or any meditative sort of practices during your day?  Please feel free to share in the comments.

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4 comments

  1. I do sometimes find myself in that sort of meditative state, although I have never had the wherewithal to “practice” meditation in any real sense. I find that I get there when I am on a good bike ride, where all my thoughts fall away and I can just be in the moment and the rhythm of the ride. Most often I have that sensation when I’m working on a design or just focusing on the form of something and all thoughts and worries drift away. It’s really an amazing feeling to just exist in that moment for a while and have nothing else occupy my conscious mind. Very satisfying indeed.

  2. I’m terrible at mindful meditation… and I know I need to get better about that. I just keep trying and when I find my thoughts racing, I try to pull them back in, but I have yet to feel like I’ve truly succeeded at it for very long.

    There was a one-page article in this month’s Real Simple magazine about meditation. It refers to a walking meditation, taking so many steps on the in breathe and so many on the out. I may give that a try (or a running meditation as you mentioned) because when I’ve tried to sit and meditate, my mind goes berserk. But I often try to repeat the word “Now” to myself, as a reminder to be present in the moment.

  3. Wow I’ve never thought about trying to make my mind like Teflon so the thoughts just slip off. Thank you so much for sharing, this is something I needed to hear today! I struggle so much with thoughts that spin me around and never seem to release their grip. My therapist asked me recently if walking would help and I told her no, because for some reason walking doesn’t provide the same distraction as running. Its like I’m a little too much inside my own head when I’m walking, but running takes the edge off. I my brain is more naturally in a “teflon-ish” state when I’m running. Thoughts don’t harass me so much when I’m running. Another way that I meditate is I pray. But when I pray I have to try to remember the verse where Jesus says “cast your burdens on me”. It takes effort, it doesn’t come naturally. If I’m not careful, I’ll turn my prayers into more worry and ruminating thoughts. Thanks for the great post! You really got me thinking.

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