I know it sounds cliche, but now I realize that it's true that the moment you stop fighing your thoughts and urges, they lose their power. I remember reading things again and aain and could not wrap my head about this concept before.
- Does the anxiety go away? No, but my relationship with the anxiety and stress changed.
IMHO Self-reflection and emotional intelligence are the most important skills one can develop.
Because if you develop them, you stop being in your own way and sabotaging yourself and it leads to generally happier life.
This is what I did i nthe last 14 months:
- Lay down, close my eyes and observe the sensetion of breathing in my belly.
- In the beginning my mind was immediately distracted with thoughts. It took me sometimes a few minutes until I was able to realize that I have been distracted all along. Then I had to force myself to ignore the distrating thought and pay attention to my breathing. It was really hard in the beginning and my sessions lasted usually 15 minutes max.
- But as I got better it became easier...now I have no problems to let go of a thought ... even a very emotiaonally charged one. It's like I have a switch in my head.
I have recommended mindfulness to all my friends and relatives and virtually none of them have made more than a few sessions. That makes me sad, because I can see what effects it can have, but there's nothing more than recommending that I can do - it's really a personal commitment.
A question for you when it comes to anxiety... Do you feel that you control the anxiety much better now? For example, I've developed anxiety when I'm at heights working to the point that sometimes I lock up, and feel like I'm about to start having a panic attack. Do you feel like you can intercept those emotions and react physically in a calm manner?
For people trying out, there's no need to do it everyday. Don't be stressed out with missing out on your meditation schedule.
Meditate when you can. It's not a race. There is no sculpted body to show off after rigorous workout regime at the gym. It's just for yourself.
One thing I recommend is persevering through the "difficult" meditations. It's about being alert and aware, not about being calm and relaxed. Recognize the "distracting" thoughts and let them go each time they arise, don't continue the conversation with those thoughts. Go back to your breathing and just sitting there. Some days those distracting thoughts come more than others, even after 10 years of meditating.
When I met Thich Nhat Hanh in 2005 he said these difficult meditations can be the most rewarding.
Not specifically related to meditation, but The Tao of Pooh is still the best book I know of that deals with the concepts behind this stuff. I re-read these books whenever I lose my way, which happens more often than I'd like to admit ;)