One of the biggest help with recovery from mental illness was learning how to do things differently in my head. In particular, learning how to NOT do things in my head was a tremendous help. Doing compulsions inside our heads is no different than doing them outside of our heads, so just like we might change some things we’re doing that we now recognize is unhealthy, so too do we need to change how we’re using our superpowered brains. But after decades of ruminating constantly–I was always talking in my head!–changing what I was doing up there seemed somewhere beyond impossible. That’s where meditation comes in.
Meditation and mindfulness are the opposite of ruminating. They were the gateway to learning how to quiet my brain and experience the world as it is, not through a filter of judgments and labels. So how much do you need to meditate to find this?
That’s not quite how it works. I approach meditation very practically. It’s about building mental fitness skills. If I don’t build those skills, it’s only natural that I won’t have them. we need to practice sitting with the brain quietly, we need to practice stopping and intentionally choosing what we give our awareness to. These are practices.
I’ve created a free meditation course on the Toolkit site, called THE BASICS OF BEING, that breaks down meditation into its component parts. Click here to sign up for free.
Meditation isn’t some magic ritual, so don’t get stuck on trying to find the “right” amount of time to meditate. I don’t meditate for the same amount of time each day. It’s about skills and capacity. Do you want to get awesome at giving your time and energy to your creative work instead of chasing around regrets about the past? Do you want to learn how to give love and kindness and gratitude to yourself and others? Do you want to see how long you can sit in silence, without moving, welcoming any thought or feeling or physical sensation the brain throws up? You can build these skills and so many more through the practice of meditation.