I used to “meditate” incorrectly. I closed my eyes and focused on being aware of my surroundings and my thoughts. I noticed my thoughts and tried to “let them go.” But my thoughts were either judgments or I was judging my thoughts (!) I assumed I was meditating correctly, because I was quite aware of everything…however, I was placing opinion on all of it.
Being present (meditating) means being aware of everything in the present time without judgment.
If you’re like me, you’d be shocked at how much you judge yourself and others. With practice, you can minimize placing personal value on yourself and others. I catch myself doing it and am able to correct it.
Criticizing is the opposite of kindness and impedes inner peace.
You’re waiting in line at the (fill in the blank: post office, grocery store, gas station).
Do you grab your phone and surf the ‘net? Do you get on Facebook? Do you sigh and impatiently monitor the line, wishing you were somewhere else?
An alternative activity: sit with your eyes closed. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel sensation in your hands, feet, stomach. Want a sample of nirvana? Ask yourself, “I wonder what my next thought will be?” And wait. The moment that follows, where you mind is completely blank, that is complete peace of mind.*
When you are in the presence of a person who speaks his mind freely, spontaneously and thoroughly (often inappropriately) we say, “He has no filter.”
This is often a problem in the classroom when there are 34 students and the teacher has numerous goals she wants to achieve. The outspoken person not only takes up valuable time uttering words that have little to no value, but it can distract other students and take them off-task.
It often causes drama.
That student can filter his words, but it requires self-awareness and self-discipline.
We can ALL filter our minds. We are in control of what we choose to read. We are all, each, in control of who we socialize with and, to some degree, who we engage with at work. You can choose to read the news and get upset or, you can choose to opt out.
But how will I stay informed? How will I continue to participate in my world?
To which I ask, “Are you truly engaging and participating in the world when you read what inflames you and then complain about it?” How about doing some volunteer work? How about starting a rights group? How about writing letters to your state representatives?
There will things you see or hear that you do not like. This is when space is helpful.
Filter your world carefully and you will see a change for the better.