Do you remember the song from the musical, The King and I, that starts “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…”
That’s what happens with mindfulness meditation, only the “you” is one’s self. When we meditate, we get to spend some time every day simply being with ourselves in an intimate way, getting to know ourselves better.
This may sound funny. Don’t we already know who we are? And aren’t we “with ourselves” 24 hours a day? Yes and no. Usually we are so occupied with outer experiences that we forget what’s going on inside of us. How often do we sit quietly and compassionately with our own feelings, emotions, pains, and joys?
If you have been diagnosed with ADHD, or just feel you have difficulties with such things as attention, focus, restlessness, organization, and time management, it can be helpful to set timers, place reminder notes where you can see them, or use special software.
But keeping a daily meditation practice can actually train your brain and build an inner power that, over time, can transform your life. It’s not a quick fix, but I know from personal experience that it works.
Even if someone has told you there is “something wrong” with your brain, nothing can interfere with your ability to get closer to yourself and your inner workings.
In meditation we set aside the ideas of perfect or not perfect, right or wrong, better or worse.
We intentionally bring our attention to aspects of the present moment without being colored by expectations, preconceived judgments, or excessive reactivity. By staying present with what is, we actually help our brains to function better during our usual activities.
It’s true that when you begin meditation all kinds of thoughts and feelings can arise, much more than usual when you are busily engaged in an activity.
But once you allow yourself to settle down and accept yourself as you are in this moment, you may find that you notice a sensation of space, the space that makes room for all the thoughts and feelings.
This awareness of spaces helps us detach from self-defeating thoughts and emotions. Over time this greater awareness also creates new neural pathways in the brain. This means that the mind begins to function differently. Attention is extended, and focus improves. Greater attention and focus allow us to work in a more relaxed and effective way.
By learning to observe our internal reactions to things, we are able to stay calmer in the face of stressful situations.
A few meditation tips:
Sit every day, even for a few minutes.
During the day, pause and reconnect with your body and breath.
Use resources: books, cds, internet teachings, and guided meditations.
If you miss your practice, just begin again.
If you need guidance, ask for help from a teacher or experienced meditator.
Just accept what unfolds during your practice and trust that everything is happening as it should.
Be kind and gentle with yourself and with other people.
Please go to ADHD and Meditation: General Guidelines.
“In meditation, we are not accomplishing anything; we are just there, seeing our lives. There is a general sense of watchfulness and an awareness of the body as an extremely sensitive mechanism that gives us messages constantly.”
-The Essential Chogyam Trungpa