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Loving Kindness and Gratitude
The key to many forms of meditation then is focus. By learning to choose what you want to pay attention to, you can opt not to focus on the negative or the things that make you stressed. You’ll therefore feel better more of the time, and be less affected by things that would otherwise hurt you.
But what if you choose to focus on something that will actively make you extremely happy? This is the idea behind both “loving kindness meditation” AND “gratitude meditation”.
In the first example (loving kindness), your objective is to meditate specifically on feelings of warmth, self-love, and kindness. In other words, you will think about things that make you happy, think about people who love you, focus on feelings of love, and focus on the things you love about yourself.
Your objective is to cultivate this emotion and then hang on to it – to keep it fresh in your mind and to let it take up the entirety of your focus for a while.
By doing this repeatedly, you will be able to not only enjoy that sense of peace and love in any given moment… but also to let it become your default emotion – such that you always feel that way.
The other option is gratitude. This is very similar to loving kindness motivation, but the goal this time is to focus on the things that make you feel grateful.
What is Enlightenment?
Perhaps you have heard of meditation in the context of enlightenment? Maybe you thought you could use meditation to achieve a higher plane of thought? It’s certainly something many people believe, but if meditation is just about focus, how can this be the case?
What’s all that about? Remember that when you practice transcendental meditation (the kind associated with enlightenment) you use a ‘mantra’ which is used to try and take your mind off of your usual ruminations (by focussing on the sounds you’re making).
What happens here is that because you aren’t using the areas of your brain that you normally would, these areas can shut down as they would in sleep but with you still awake. Key regions of the brain that usually help us to understand the world around us shut down: such as the region responsible for detecting contrast, or the area associated with identifying edges in the world around us. You even lose the ability to recognize where your own body is in space.
This can then alter your perception as you view the world without being able to distinguish between edges, and as you start to lose your sense of self. This removes the ‘filters’ we normally use to see the world and, in that sense, you are seeing reality in a ‘purer’ sense.
This makes an interesting final aim, but of course takes years of practice. Eventually, this can result in total “ego death” (loss of sense of self) which is an extremely liberating experience.
Flow States: Mediation While Engaged in a Task
In the world of productivity and self-help, the term ‘flow state’ is used to describe a mental state in which you are able to concentrate unceasingly on a singular task without interruption or distraction. When you reach this state, you are able to hugely increase your productivity and your output and you can this away complete complex tasks in a very short space of time.
In short, a flow state is the point at which an activity you are engaged in becomes meditative.
Of course, though getting into this flow state is no mean feat, and particularly when our brains are constantly trying to distract us with other things and consistently getting bored. Particularly in the modern reality we’re living in where we are used to concentrating on twenty things at once and being constantly entertained through various mediums. The flow state then is something of an elusive concept and a constant goal, in much the same way that someone who meditates regularly might chase after the promise of enlightenment.
To help you in your own pursuit of this magical state, or at least to achieve a satisfactory level of concentration, here are a few techniques you can use to help encourage focus and avoid distraction and procrastination.
Remove Distractions: One of the best ways you can help to avoid yourself becoming distracted by things is to remove them from your visual field. So, for instance if you are someone who finds yourself distracted by the internet regularly (you are most certainly not alone) then a logical solution is simply to turn off the internet when you are trying to work. And if you find that you struggle with your will power to bring yourself to do this, then an alternative solution is to simply go out to a café to work where there is no internet.Other Details
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- Year Released/Circulated: 2020
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