Meditation 7 "Observe"
Updated: Aug 17, 2019
This is the 7th meditation in a series on dealing with anxiety. We are not trying to get rid of anxiety but learning to more objectively observe it and separate our sense of who we are from the thoughts that come and go in our head and the emotions attached to those thoughts. If you have just tuned in, go back to the first meditation by pressing the meditation button at the top of my website - thenomadyogi.com .
This calming meditation technique has been likened to watching a rare animal in the wild. We watch safely from a distance, like we are hiding behind a bush. We watch with curiosity and wonder. Alternating between awareness of our thoughts and feelings and their impact on our body, and the breath focus that anchors us to the present moment and gives us distance. It’s a tool to help manage emotions not a magic wand. With time and practice we feel calmer and happier in general and it becomes a useful skill to employ when life gets tough. This particular meditation practice involves mindfulness - being mindful of body senses, body sensations, the breath, thoughts and feelings. With time, we discover mindfulness working its way into the rest of our lives helping us enjoy each moment, each activity more fully.
Mindfulness can also help us enjoy other people more fully - seeing people for who and what they are rather than who we have assumed them to be. Social competence improves when we are more observant of others because we tend to listen better. We learn to watch others as though they too are rare, wild animals. We can augment this by learning to reflect. We “reflect” by listening well, giving others ample space to express themselves, and then rephrasing what they say back to them. People feel really heard when we do this and we all like that feeling. We tend to think more about what people are telling us when we start to reflect and this often yields valuable insights. Follow up questions also help the speaker feel interesting and deepen our understanding of them. Our general day to day relationships are not therapy though. We shouldn’t always just listen. Healthy adult relationships are reciprocal. Becoming more mindful in our friendships can help us to ensure that we are heard too. That we are known and understood. We are all social beings so this is a basic human need. When we are more mindful of what we feel and think we express ourselves better and are aware of what constitutes a healthy friendship, being able to advocate for ourselves if a relationship feels one-sided, even sometimes choosing to let go of relationships that are toxic and lacking in mutuality.
There are lots of ways to deal with anxiety. Meditation is just one. There are also lots of different kinds of meditation that deal with anxiety. This course focuses on just one. I hope it whets your appetite to explore the world of mindfulness and meditation more. Feel free to share how your experiments with mindfulness and meditation are going in the comments below.