Meditation 2: Thoughts and Facts
Hi there. Welcome to the meditation for depression series. In this meditation we’ll explore the concept of our thought life.
See, on the journey to overcoming depression, it can help to look at how our thoughts affect our reality. If I were to put your thoughts on a movie picture screen, do you think we’d see more of a positive rendition of your life or a negative one? Have you ever really gauged your thought life? What kinds of thoughts are running amuck in there?
Let me take you back in time for a moment. See, when we’re born as tiny babies, we’re born with a blank slate when it comes to thoughts. I mean, babies don’t have a bunch of thoughts running through their minds. But over time, they start thinking thoughts about themselves, others, the world, and their past and future. Those thoughts help them form their personality. Those thoughts in turn, cause them to feel certain emotions and believe certain things. But if you can come to know the truth about thoughts, you’ll be able to break free from negative thoughts that can often cause you to feel depressed.
See, a thought is just a thought. It’s not reality. Our thoughts are completely independent from ourselves. They aren’t us.
It sounds so simple, but making this distinction plays a major role in the way you view the world. Haven’t you ever thought something and then later found out that what you thought wasn’t correct? Maybe you thought you couldn’t achieve that particular goal, but lo and behold, you did. Or you thought some disaster was going to happen and it didn’t. That’s because thoughts and truth are often wildly different, so becoming more aware that thoughts are independent from “you” will help you begin to get free from depression or other negative emotions.
Today, we’re going to use a visualization to begin creating a new perspective when it comes to thoughts. We’re going to begin learning how to become an observer of thoughts and see them in a different way. Take a step back from them and view them objectively.
Now, let’s get ready to begin the meditation. Get settled in a quiet spot, sitting or lying down.
Gently close your eyes and bring your attention to the space around you. Notice the quietness or any sounds you hear. Now, bring your awareness to your body, feel the weight of it against the ground or chair. Now, bring your attention to your breath. We’re going to begin by taking three deep breaths, feeling the belly expand as you inhale and empty as you exhale. Surrendering to total relaxation and peace.
Take a deep breath now and silently county to 4 as you do. Pause for a moment and then exhale to the count of 5.
Do this again. Inhale. 1,2,3,4, Exhale. 1,2,3,4,5. Feel how centered your body is. How peaceful you’re becoming.
One more time. Inhale. Exhale.
Now, return to your natural breath. Just let your breath automatically be. Now, take a few moments and scan your body from the head all the way down to the toes. As you put your focus on each part of your body, purpose to relax it fully.
Now that you’re feeling fully relaxed, we’re going to do some visualizing now, opening yourself up to a greater awareness of yourself and thoughts.
I want you to start by closing your eyes. Now, imagine that you’re inside a cave. It’s pitch black and you can’t see anything, but you sense that the cave walls are very close to you. It’s a very small space, making you feel confined. You notice that you’re wearing a very heavy back pack. It’s been weighing you down for a long time. You’re weary and feeling a bit hopeless.
You start making baby steps forward to find a way out. With your hands, you feel the cave walls beside you, noticing how cold and damp they are.
After a few moments, you notice a faint light off in the distance. You stop, focusing on the light to make sure it’s really there. You start walking toward that light slowly, feeling a little bit of hope ripple through your body. But the backpack is getting heavier and heavier and you aren’t sure you’ll make it, yet, for some reason you can’t put it down.
Finally, you see where the light is coming from. A hole in the cave ceiling. Your heart leaps in excitement and as you approach the hole, you trip and fall to the ground. Hard. You try to get up, but the back pack is just too heavy now. You can’t get up. You’re not sure what to do.
Then, out of nowhere, a hand appears from above and reaches out to you. It’s either a friend, guardian, God, or whoever you desire it to be. You reach your hand out and they grab you, but you’re too heavy for them to pull up. You know it’s because of your back pack. Wanting out of the cave badly, you decide to open the back pack to see what’s inside. You look and inside are all of your thoughts and emotions. Swirling about are all the negative thoughts you think and the negative emotions you feel. The feelings that have pressed you down.
As you look, you become aware that you don’t need one thought or feeling that is in that back pack. Not one. You smile. You get it now. You are not your thoughts and while you felt you needed them, they caused you unnecessary challenges on your journey. You realize that you have the power to let them go.
You take that back pack off and throw it down onto the ground. Feel free to do a little victory dance. Then, at last you allow yourself to be pulled out of that cave. sigh
Now open your eyes. You see a beautiful world of opportunity around you. You hear birds singing off in the distance. You smell the freshness of nature and feel a light breeze blow over you.
You’re smiling, feeling so much lighter. You’ve almost completely forgotten about that back pack.
Your helper tells you to go begin a new journey, free of the past. He or she tells you that you are free of your thoughts. They have no power over you. New thoughts will come now and then, but remember that you don’t have to entertain them or keep them. Simply watch them. They don’t define you. You can even thank them for coming, but then let them go on their way.
You feel good. You feel worthy. In this moment, you are fully present. Feel the joy of just being.
Now, slowly bring your attention back to your breath.
Inhale. Exhale. Your normal breath rhythm.
Open up your awareness to the space you’re in, noting any sounds or sensations you feel. You, in this moment, are fully and completely you. Congratulations on another meditation on your journey toward joy. You’re showing up for yourself in a big way.
Now, as you go about your day, keep in mind that thoughts will come from the past or the future. These thoughts may not be the truth. They’ll want you to put them in your back pack, measure them endlessly, take up your precious time, and collect them for future reference, but if you do, over time you’ll find yourself right back in that dark cave feeling all weighted down.
When you find yourself faced with negative thoughts or feelings, remember that a thought is just a thought. It is not reality and you don’t have to carry it. You can step back and see it. You certainly don’t have to take it forward in your adventures.
Now, in the next meditation, you’ll be learning a great technique called “noting” that is oftentimes used in mindfulness meditation. You will continue to practice relaxation and training the mind to pay attention to the here and now. How to journey as an observer of your thoughts moment by moment, helping you overcome depression and enter into a peaceful and joyous state of being.
Until next time.
”When you find yourself faced with negative thoughts or feelings, remember that a thought is just a thought. It is not reality and you don’t have to carry it. You can step back and see it. You certainly don’t have to take it forward in your adventures