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The elephant in the room: the problem with meditation and mindfulness

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“I have tried meditation and its just not for me, my brain doesn’t stop, and I just think too much.” Almost worn as a badge of pride as if to suggest that those who can meditate and clear their mind clearly are not people who think as much as the many people make this statement do. Many insomniacs, or others, will say that they just can't do it, every time they do they feel like they are doing it wrong. Or yet others just say they do not have time in their day.

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Now that first paragraph sounds very judgy, and it is meant to. But trust me it only is because I was that guy. I have said those things and from time to time catch myself saying them to myself. 

The other problem with meditation or mindfulness I see and feel is the industry that has grown up around it. The money that people like me are trying to make by writing books about it, developing training courses around it and so on. Mindfulness has become the fast food industry on the meditation and self-help movement. 

It is very much the in thing to do, and celebrities line up to tell you that they do it and how wonderful it is. They pompously tell you how you should do it too so that you can gain enlightenment. To which you probably think ‘well fuck you, if I was a millionaire celebrity that didn’t have to get up at 6 am every day to get ready for work and had to work 60 hours a week just to make ends meet then yeah I could sit on my arse every day humming to myself for 2 hours.’ 

It becomes yet another thing to do on the list of things we “should” do to keep ourselves healthy, and therefore it becomes something we rebel against. Something, that if we are not careful, becomes a chore. 

And the problem is that this is not real life. We all know this, and even if we are the type of person who binges drinks in celebrity and reality culture (I definitely am not).   We know deep down that its “not real” its hyped up life made for the camera and so we distance ourselves from these thoughts as something out of reach. Even if it is on a subconscious level. 

It's all a bit too spiritual, isn’t it?

The other stereotype with mindfulness and meditation is that it is only for people who are in some way spiritual. That it is for monks and gurus. Associated with Buddhism, Islam and other religions. 

This is a misconception that a lot of people have. They feel that they couldn’t look into meditation or mindfulness as it would lead them onto a spiritual or religious journey that they may not wish to go on. Indeed in some religions such as Christianity, the concept or thought of meditation or mindfulness is seen as something mystic even possibly dangerous. Something that could open your mind up to the abuse my demons, indeed if you delve off into hypnosis this can often be the claim, I know this as this is what I was told as I was brought up as a Christian. The point that Jesus did meditate, and it states this in the bible seems to go over their head. But religion aside, meditation does not have to be a spiritual process and the benefits will change your life.

Both meditation and mindfulness, and yes they are different I will go into this at a later date, have amazing cognitivepsychological, neurological and even physiological benefits that sit outside anything that could be called spiritual or religious. Many non-religious people, even atheists, practice meditation or at the very least mindfulness for this very reason. 

It is these areas of meditation and mindfulness leading to metacognitive awareness of our thoughts as and when they happen so that we can retrain and reprogram our thinking on an unconscious and subconscious level via conscious awareness using neuro-linguistic programming that is the core of what am outlining in this writing and the forthcoming books and blogs.

My aim is to bring together these different schools of thought and teachings in order to help my fellow insomniacs to gain and benefit, as I have, with this knowledge. But it is also to reverse engineer it and distil it down into a process and toolkit that you can use daily if you wish or as and when you need it. Without you having to do the years of research and training that I have had to. 

In conclusion

If we can put aside our preconceptions about NLP, mindfulness, hypnosis and meditation. And if we can give ourselves the knowledge and benefit of taking some time out of our busy days to practice what we learn. Then even 10 minutes a day, which is my norm, can have vast and lasting effects. 

 

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