Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Thinking Things Over

A few weeks ago I finally visited the Kadampa Meditation Centre in Glasgow (I'm saying finally as I've been saying for months I was going to go!). I went along to a thirty minute lunchtime meditation class with a friend and it was a really uplifting and relaxing experience. As soon as I stepped inside the centre I felt a sense of calm- a welcome contrast to the rush of the city outside. It was the first time I’d ever been to a meditation class so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

This particular centre offers guided Buddhist meditation, so the session was led by a Buddhist. He had a very calming voice and manner which helped me to focus on the breathing techniques. (once I’d tuned out the distraction of the woman near me who kept moving around in her squeaky chair!). I was able to sink into a deep state of relaxation but wasn't completely successful with silencing my mind....although by the second breathing exercise I was definitely getting there.

During the session our facilitator talked about confidence and how most of us will struggle with low self-esteem at times, due to holding onto a false sense of confidence where we place too much focus on external things- like our looks, our intelligence, our talents or relationships. If any of these things change or are threatened, our self-esteem suffers. He talked about how we should aim to seek confidence within ourselves and recognise that our feelings and thoughts dictate a lot. If we learn to control our mind and rid it of negativity it gives us control of any situation.
His message that we can’t control external things which happen, but ultimately have the power to change our feelings and our minds, (and how we approach situations), was very simple but powerful. He articulated it in a much better way than I’m attempting here, and he also illustrated what he was saying with a couple of stories. The whole experience was rather uplifting and a nice time out from the 'every day'. One of the tasks on that old Fifty Things list of mine , (you can find info on that in my blog archives!), was to sign up to a class – this will be my ‘class’ and I plan to return to more regular sessions in the new year.

For a while I’ve been thinking about the power of our thoughts. Last year I subscribed to something called Notes from the Universe (Truly Unique Thoughts at www.tut.com). I get a daily email with a motivating or insightful message along the lines of, ‘It’s not knowing what the answer or solution is…but simply knowing that there is one, which brings it forth.’ The tagline of the site is ‘Thoughts Become Things’. It might sound really cheesy, and I signed up mostly for a bit of fun, but it does sometimes take me by surprise how applicable a message can be on certain days!

A few weeks after the mediation session a couple of people on separate occasions asked me if I’d ever read the book ‘The Secret’. I’d read about it, and had a good understanding of parts of it thanks to magazine articles, but had never read the whole book. I started to get curious, so downloaded it to my kindle and read it in two days on my commute to and from work.
The book talks about ‘The Law of Attraction’ and the power of positive thought attracting good things into your life. I agree with a lot of the concepts in the book, (the power of positive thought and positive visualisation), but for me there was a lack of recognition that to take true control of your life you also need to take action, put some work in, and plan things…not just sit back and visualise, hoping the universe will bring things to you.
On dark winter days it’s also quite a challenge to maintain a sunny disposition… but it has sparked off a lot of thinking about future goals. Some of my favourite parts of the book were the references to Einstein – I need to sit down and read his theories properly one day because every time I read snippets of them I want to know more. Like his theory that time is an illusion and everything is happening simultaneously, leads the author of the book to speculate: ‘If everything is happening at the one time, then the parallel version of you with what you want already exists’. So whatever you want in the future already exists…

All of this is getting a bit too deep for a Tuesday night so I’m going to sign off with a link to a really interesting Japanese Positive Thinking experiment, (The Rice Experiment), conducted by a researcher and alternative healer from Japan, Masaru Emoto. His experiments demonstrate that human thoughts and intentions can actually alter physical reality. The results of the Rice Experiment are fascinating!! Read about it here