Mindfulness; a term that we often hear thrown about in conversations about Health and Wellbeing, but do we really understand what it means?
Mindfulness is all about focusing our awareness on the present moment, including where we are and what we are doing, and not being overwhelmed by what is going on around us.
We all know learning to be mindful can be aided by taking part in therapeutic techniques such as meditation, but have we ever tried to merge the mind and spirit to calm our thoughts? And how can merging the two help us to stay mindful in everyday life?
Well, we caught up with Gareth at My Home Vitality who explains all…
“When I first started practising meditation, believe it or not, my intention was not to become more spiritual.
The main reasons I started to meditate were:
- To calm my mind
- To control my mind
- To slow down
- To stop constant streams of thought
- To control negative or depressing thoughts
All of these reasons were just elements of one overreaching goal – to cultivate a positive, happy mind. As I progressed through my meditation journey, practising many routines and techniques, I found a spiritual side to myself that I did not expect.
I have come to learn that the mind and the spirit can be two separate entities or with practice can be merged as one.
What Is The Difference Between Your Mind And Spirit?
The mind is a super computer that can do wonderful things; however, it can also be extremely destructive, taking you down to the dark depths of depression. When linked with emotions this can be a recipe for disaster!
The mind is a tool, like I said, a super computer; but unlike a computer it keeps running and very rarely, if ever, shuts down.
Imagine using a battery drill at home; when you need it you charge it, take it off charge, use it and then put it down. You don’t leave your finger on the trigger all day at max speed until the battery dies, do you?
So why do you do that with your mind? As a society we rarely complete a job and then put our minds back on charge to recover. This is what meditation is for! Meditation allows you to slow the drill down, turn off the power, put it down and recharge.
So, we have established the mind is a tool. It is a tool that can be controlled through selection. What do I mean by selection? Well, you will always have a mixture of positive and negative thoughts running through your mind, you cannot escape them, but you can ‘select’ which ones you focus on and how you perceive them.
The next time you find yourself being plagued with negative thoughts, select how you deal with them…
Do you let them pass? Do you take action? Do you turn them into positives? Find what works for you.
Many people engage in a variety of different spiritual practices and hold beliefs that are right for them but this is my take on it…
Meditation guided me to my spiritual side; you may call it “God,” “The Source,” “Stillness,” “Being,” “The Universe” or even “The Force” (I had to get a Star Wars analogy in somewhere) – I believe that all of these things are one of the same.
Personally, I can only achieve this state of stillness when everything has fallen away. What do I mean?
Well, when I sit and give my monkey mind a single job to do, like focusing on my breath, it creates a stillness that gradually eradicates the preconceived notions of “me” – my past, my present, my future, my career, my name, my age, my beliefs and my body. In a nutshell, it removes my ego.
I find myself in a conscious state of “just being.” I am an awareness rather than a physical vessel controlled by my ego. Often this leads to a great sense of joy and happiness.
Merging the Mind and Spirit – Part 1
When you’re going about your daily life, using your mind, you are in the DOING MODE.
When you are in a place of stillness, you are in the BEING MODE.
Now, as mentioned above, these two “modes” are often separate to start with. Usually, you use your problem-solving mind to complete daily tasks, stop and then meditate to enter a state of stillness.
However, once you learn to access this quiet stillness through meditation, exercise, singing, music, art, etc. you can keep it running in the background.
This is the point at which you can make logical choices from your quiet, still, egoless state; spanning between doing and being. It’s a very calming way to live!
The egoic mind always feels like it needs to protect or defend itself. It covers you in armour to deflect reality and shuts your true self away from the world. The reality is you are still breathing, you control your mind, you control your thoughts, you control your actions and you can choose to enter a place of still awareness.
Merging the Mind and Spirit – Part 2
When you are in a stressful situation or an argument is looming, say to yourself: “DETACH!”
This is to remove yourself mentally and emotionally from the situation so that you can think about it logically. It is even more powerful if you can physically remove yourself by taking a step back.
This allows you to still your mind and think at the same time.
Once detached, ask yourself:
What am I doing with my breath?
What am I feeling in my body?
Am I tense?
Am I angry?
What is the best outcome here?
By practising breathing meditation and body scan meditation you can start to understand triggers in your body, using them as red flags when things start to go wrong.
This allows you to detach earlier without letting problems escalate.
You may find that this method makes it easier for you to merge your mind and spirit together or vice versa and remember, there are no right or wrong answers, we all have different ways of doing things, the important thing is to understand you!
If there is one point that you take from this article please let it be that you need to balance “THE DOING” with “THE BEING.”
Find your balance or merge the two if you can.
If you have no interest in spirituality you can still calm your mind with meditation, which can lead to a more productive and less stressful life.”
Thanks Gareth, that was really insightful. We can’t wait to start putting some of these suggestions into practice!
Remember, if you’re a Paycare Policyholder and you feel like your inner thoughts are getting on top of you, please do make use of our Confidential Counselling Helpline.
Available 24 hours of the day, you can simply pick up the phone and speak to someone. Whether its relationship worries, work stresses, health or finance concerns or something else – we’re here for you.
You can read the full blog from My Home Vitality by clicking here > https://www.myhomevitality.com/merging-the-mind-and-spirit/