Can Mindfulness Melt the Snowball of Numbness?

A couple of days ago, I meditated for almost five minutes. I used to do 20 minutes every other day as a bare minimum. I realized that after sitting, my mind was so much more in perspective.

I think that I’m a person who has a lot of thoughts. Maybe not more than most people, but more than some. My mind knows how to race and when I start to take every single thought seriously and try to weigh them against each other, I feel almost like I’m drowning. It leads me to making parts of songs and parts of blog posts pretty frantically, without actually finishing or loving any of them. Maybe there is no room for the stillness and experience of love when the world is racing so fast.

The sitting practice helps me to remember in a very experiential way that each thought is simply a thought, and that I can let some of them go without any horrible ramifications. It also seems that the farther I get away from that practice, the less I engage with other mindfulness activities like Yoga or even just basic stretching. I start getting addicted to the madness and afraid of the silence and stillness that I pretty much forget is even there.

It makes me wonder about addictions in general. The more frantic my mind gets, the more I start turning to alcohol and coffee and cigarettes to find some sense of comfort and ground. Of course, all of these things provide the exact opposite in most cases. But that doesn’t stop the craving for them when my mind is in such a state.  Partly because the thought “I should go get beer” is harder to see in perspective when I haven’t been engaging in my sitting practice.

Another thing that happens, which is pretty embarrassing to type, is that my mind tells me that the chaos and substances will help me to be more creative. Of course, I start writing more often sometimes when I’m in that state, but it’s not usually writing that I end up being proud of or using for any real project. It seems to be a rationalization built out of an addiction to numbing behavior, and as long as I can call it that to its face every once in awhile, it’s rather easy to get out of.

I wonder how many other people experience the swing in the way that I do, where it seems like the farther away I get from health and groundedness, the more I begin to seek out that chaos instead of things that bring me back. It’s quite interesting.

I hope you are well and I hope that getting back into my practice will leave me with more semi-useful things to blog about rather than the zillions of half-finished posts that you never get to see :)

Do you have numbing behaviors that seem to snowball into each other?

Are you just always able to be healthy and happy and motivated to be good to yourself?

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Can Mindfulness Melt the Snowball of Numbness?

  1. I have missed you and your insights……..reading this today has given me the boost I much need as my thoughts seem to just snowball……..I am doing a mindfulness group at the moment…….I have also been sober for about a year now…..thankyou…….

  2. Nice post! I understand what you’re saying, and have explored that avenue :-) Substances (and caffeine too) are about ideas, ‘input’ through conscious experience, and that’s okay… up to a point. But not to be confused with writing, which is about expressing ideas, ‘output’. For me it was a case of the input masking the output – numbing behaviours, as you say.

    • Thanks for sharing! I like thinking of it in terms of input and output..there are so many kinds of input, like even taking in sensory stimulation in the woods feels like input..and they all must affect the output differently :) masking it though..not a good thing!

  3. Was just thinking about you this week. “Surely it’s time for Jennifer to break down, write and post something.” So it was a welcome sight to see your post waiting. I for one would love to see some of your “not ready for prime time” musings. Stop teasing us. Geez. :)

    Love your topic, and your musings as usual resonate. I love the cross-pollination that happens here. What I experience as “prayer” is “mindfulness,” and mindfulness is prayer. One of my most meaningful mentors has been Brother Lawrence in 17th cent France. He joined a monastery as a doorkeeper, cook, and sandal repairer – in other words, he wasn’t a cleric or clergy. But popes came to interview him about his spiritual life. His classic work is Practicing the Presence. He believed that prayer is practicing the presence of God, presence in and to each moment, and he maintained it can and must be experienced in the midst of daily routines and paths, rather than relegated to special “prayer” times. Mindfulness is a state a mind. Imagine that. Still working on finding that groove through each day. Numbing myself is always easier and always an option – and what a creative (destructive) array of heart numbing options always present themselves to us when we’d rather not be present! No answers here, though I do believe Brother Lawrence is on to something and I return to his well frequently to drink in that lifestyle and perspective. Which is why I keep looking forward to drinking in your posts here, for you seek the same water.

    Cheers!

    • You are so talented at making me think and see things more clearly! I agree with you, the presence factor is so key. I remember asking my grandparents when I was little about whether God thinks you’re good for doing something good that you are only doing to get to heaven. I don’t remember the answer, but I still wonder about that and it seems like true presence is at least a part of it, because when you are doing anything presently, you are more able to be purely “you” instead of in a place of “what I’m supposed to do” which feels more pure, and refreshing, and alive. :)

  4. I can definitely identify with your post. Once I head down one of those “off course paths,” it takes some very conscious awareness and choices to bring me back. Just this morning I ran across a note I wrote to myself. It said, “If you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused, or frustrated, it’s a sign that you desperately need a new perspective. Stop! Breathe! Be still! Ask yourself these questions . . .” And then I gave myself some really good questions to move my thinking to a different level. Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your process with us. I find your insights thought provoking and valuable.

  5. Just wanted to say “great post” this resonates a lot with me at the moment. I recently started doing yoga and have felt a difference in my mind and body when it comes to stillness and being present. I find that mediation forces you to focus on the NOW and not get lost in thought. Thoughts will always come and go, but being present in the moment allows you to appreciate the life you have now. I know at times I crave distraction, because as you mentioned it helps numb whatever emotion you are dealing will, which limits you to finish projects or more productive activities. The trick is to notice when this happens and strive to balance it out. You’ll be fine!

    • Ahh yes the trick is to notice it! That I think is the entire thing, the whole reason meditation helps me at all. Without it, I don’t notice. And without noticing, it’s a whole lot harder to change the pattern :) thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  6. Very honest post, thanks for sharing.
    I read about mindfulness a lot and practise it quite a lot but even so I am amazed how often I forget about it and become distracted, basically.
    I can only do one yoga pose well (some kind of hand stand thingie – crane?) but along with a wee bit meditation it really helps stillness, focus and deliberateness.
    Very best of luck, Don

  7. I have different ways of feeding my addictions (and avoiding real writing): word games, trashy reading, and magazines. I love magazines. They are shiny and not expensive and I lose myself in the pictures and imagining what I would do to my house if I had tons of money. This is why I’m down to posting about once a month, at best. Focus! I need focus!

    • Are you still sometimes searching Pinterest for all things aqua marine? :) I would love a shiny magazine full of a few real articles by Vicki Winslow, and also filled with how-to’s and top ten lists of the ways Vicki puts off real writing :)

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