Finally, I found meditation as a way to get rid of overthinking obsessions and similar annoyances. I also recommend it to those who are dealing with such problems.
I was born in 1961. My student and professional life coincided with the turbulent times of my country, Turkey. It had been difficult for me to maintain my psychological balance among people who blindly believe stereotypical norms of their groups instead of general morality and ethics. Working without entering the magnetic range of any group brought about interpersonal conflicts. There were many times when I was overwhelmed and looked for a peaceful corner to escape. Finally, I retired in 2002 without severe loss. When I look back, I see many successful projects together with interpersonal conflicts. As I stepped into my pleasant corner and dreamed of a peaceful life, the troubles and memories I had in the past started to disturb me. I once reflected my mood in my diary like this:
"Because of the monotony of retirement, I frequently delve into my inner world and envision bittersweet memories I had lived in the past. I better just imagine! I literally relive those days. By blending with them, I get upset, get angry, and sometimes blame people or myself. The same scenes, especially negative ones, swirl in my mind like a carousel. My face blushes; I feel embarrassed, irritated, annoyed, or agitated. I lose my accord. For years, I've been looking for ways to get rid of these excessive thinking habits. I read books and blogs posts for a solution. I am trying to transform myself from negative to positive."
Finally, I found a way to defeat those kinds of overthinking and related problems; it is meditation. I recommend it to those who are dealing with similar issues. In the following, I try to describe the historical origins of meditation, its place in human life, its importance, benefits, and how to apply it. As you'll see, meditation is a technique that anyone can quickly learn and practice.
Meditation first appeared in India. The first historical documents go back to 5000 BC. They are wall arts, include human figures with half-closed eyes in meditation postures. The first written documents, the sacred texts of Hinduism that emerged around 1500 BC, are the Vedas. Since then, meditation has been the primary ritual of ancient eastern religions and teachings, especially Buddhism and Hinduism. Today, it has spread to the whole world as relaxation, spiritual purification, or therapy technique that anyone can apply regardless of their religion.
Its place, importance, and benefits in human life
In the meditation mentality, the root of the suffering is the thoughts that popped out repeatedly in the mind. Ideas are the interpretation of the facts, sometimes exaggerated, sometimes belittling, sometimes covered up, and sometimes distorted. Identification of the pure self with distorted thoughts and detachment from its unique existence is the source of suffering. The farther away we keep thoughts without sticking them to the original and sacred self, the more we become enlightened. That is, we reach our true self, holy spirit, our heart. We begin to perceive and evaluate the facts more objectively. Thus, we find peace. I believe that every pray and worship serve as meditation as well as other functions.
Meditation has become one of the techniques of some psychotherapy approaches today. In the treatment of many disorders such as anxiety, stress, depression, depending on the patient's condition, it is sometimes applied together with medication and sometimes alone, in the entirety of the therapy process. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-CBT suggests that distorted thoughts are the source of psychological disorders. The taming of mind for not filled up by the views, meditation gains importance in this sense. Acceptance and commitment therapy-ACT uses mindfulness meditation as a therapy technique.
Furthermore, meditation is widely favored for rest, peace, and well-being beyond therapy worldwide; it has become a trend.
Keeping thoughts and emotions away
From time to time, we unwittingly identify ourselves with our temporary and momentary feelings and thoughts. For example; We would be just something! We would be sole anger. We would be a complete regret. We would be strictly destitute, we would be really wealthy, we would be a real hero, we would be a poor loser, we would be just opponent or just a supporter. The source of troubles and wrong decisions is that the self is parted from itself and slips into uncertainty in storms of feelings and thoughts. The primary function of meditation is to turn the self into its pure state by freeing it from the thoughts and emotions it stuck to. The person who gains this level becomes aware of his / her true self and quickly takes control of his thoughts and feelings. The result is objectivity, peace, and tranquility.
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"Who am I?" The question is famous. You may ask yourself this question. The answers would usually reflect the state of self intertwined with thoughts and feelings. For example, the reply "I am poor" reflects views about relative poverty. Or you might answer, "I am rich." Likewise, this too reflects comparative thoughts. Most of the answers would be related to ideas that describe many emotions and situations, such as sorry, angry, ambition, guilty, regret, poor, happiness, joy, rich, needy... But these don't meet the answers to the question! Because you described yourself with your thoughts and feelings, not with yourself. So, who is poor, rich, sad, or happy?
We dive so deep into our thoughts and feelings that we forget who we are. We build our identity with our thoughts. But emotions and thoughts are inconsistent, unpredictable, doubtful, changing; they come and go. We need to define ourselves with our permanent side. Apart from thoughts and emotions but able to observe all of them, this permanent side is the true self, the spotless mind, the spirit, or the heart. With this logic, the answer to "who am I?" should be like, "I am true X, who observe my feelings, thoughts, and everything happened but is disengaged from all of them."
Sometimes, we flow together with delightful nature nearby a watercourse, among the singing birds, trees of various kinds, by breathing fresh air. Then, all thoughts, all feelings fade away slowly; only the true self remains. What a peaceful moment this is! Meditation is such a thing.
Keeping thoughts away is not ignoring them. We will think about our goals, duties, responsibilities. We will receive and evaluate the messages of ideas. However, we will not be overwhelmed by the details, especially the negative ones, and avoid unnecessary repetitions. Observing thoughts from a distance position gives clear and objective reasoning. Thus, we walk confidently to the future.
How is it applied?
A wide variety of types of meditation have emerged. All approaches are based on mindfulness breath. In mindfulness breath, your mind focuses on your breath. You feel the breathing in the foreground, leaving other thoughts away. Thoughts in the background are not rejected or pushed — if done this way, they become more assertive; instead, they are viewed through the observer window and left to their own state. Thus, the authentic self takes control of the mind; the mind becomes trained, tamed. This meditation approach is often described using the metaphor of "elephant domestication."
The newly caught wild elephant is tied to a firm stake with a strong rope. The elephant is not happy with this situation at all! He roars, kicks his feet, jumps, forces the string for days to escape. After all, it calms down and settles in its place. At this stage, you can untie the rope, feed it, train it for specific purposes. In the metaphor, the wild elephant is the mind. The solid string is awareness. The firm stake is your meditation object, that is, your breath. A tame elephant is your mind, is trained, under your control, and can focus well.
In mindfulness meditation, you sit in a quiet place. Your goal is to improve your awareness by focusing your attention on your breath. But the mind is deceiving. Thoughts pop out one after another, you are surrounded, you fall into the trap. You realize that you have been dealing with accounts payable, interpersonal conflicts, or sweet dreams. You try to bring your focus back to your breath. Breath becomes a reference point for you. While your mind continues to jump from branch to branch like a monkey, when you suddenly notice this, you immediately return to your breath. You anchor your mind to the moment through your breath. It is natural for the mind to function automatically, move into the thoughts; you do not blame yourself for that. Your responsibility is to take your attention away from these thoughts to your breath when you notice the drift. In the beginning, you can practice the processes in 5-10-15 minutes, later increase the period as much as you need.
There are many reasons why breath is taken as a reference point. It is with us as long as we live. Wherever we go, it is within our reach. It takes place "now and here." It is free of charge. It is the atomic core of taking and giving in our life. It is the joint activity of all living things.
Mindfulness meditation can be practiced even as 3 slow inhales and 3 slow exhales in situations where you are busy with other tasks.
As a result
There are many times when we come and get caught up in fleeting emotions. In those times, we may temporarily become anxious, angry, overwhelmed, or bored. One of the ways to change these negative moods to positive ones is meditation. Meditation is a technique that improves our mood. We can take the emotions and thoughts away by retreating to a quiet place for 5-10 minutes and keeping our attention on our breath. Life is tastier and more enjoyable in the eyes of the pure self.