Penny Brohn UK

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Mindfulness and Meditation: Guest blog – The Stress Hacker

There is a part of the mind that is in charge of filtering. It sifts and sorts, categorises and labels, it is an essential part of our thinking. Let’s call it the ego mind. Without the ego we would all be crazy!

The problem is, that although the ego is an essential part of the mind, it tends to take over and acts as if it’s the only mind that we have.

Because the main purpose of the ego mind is to sift and sort, filter and file information that comes into the brain, it also labels and compares, judges and criticises and before long it can be the only part of our inner dialogue that we hear.

Developing the ‘Self’

The secret is to develop another aspect of the mind that we could call the ‘Self’. This part of the mind, doesn’t judge or criticise, it’s peaceful, timeless and still. I always say that this is the part of the mind that accepts us wherever, without expectations or demands, so it feels a bit more like the loving part of ourselves.

If your ego mind is very busy and loud it will drown out deeper intuitive thoughts. Thoughts from the ‘Self’ could be considered as natural perceptive, ‘gut’ instincts for example.

They have just as much, if not more value. Your deeper intuition wants to serve you in the pursuit of being the ‘best’ you.

Sometimes a ‘sense’ or a knowing can alert you to a health issue that you are not paying conscious attention to and can helpfully push you to take the necessary action that could be preventative.

The fact is that the nature of the ego mind is to be busy … it really enjoys trawling the past looking for things to fret about, pulling up past memories and their associated feelings. Pretty soon we can feel stuck and negative … it also enjoys wandering out into the future to see what things it can find to worry about. Silly really, worrying about things that haven’t happened or may never happen! But that’s the nature of the ego mind and the ego mind won’t go away.

Question: How can we access this deeper intuition?

Answer: By practising being present. Being present, here now, equals less stress. If we want to enjoy life more and feel less pressured we need to make a conscious effort to be in the moment. Being present requires becoming ‘psychologically awake’ and more conscious.

Here are a couple of easy ways to practice

Mindfulness: Take a moment to notice what you can see right now around you. Now notice every single sound near and far. Next observe what you can feel … hungry, happy, and irritable, the fabric of your clothing, the air in your nostrils, the wind on your face and so on.

Practice this as often as possible so that you become the observer … the watcher … the listener … then you may wonder ‘who am I’?

Meditation: Sit quietly, ideally in an upright chair. Softly close your eyes and draw your inner gaze to the centre of your forehead. If you’re visual, continue to watch your breath, see the inhalation and the exhalation. If you tend to be more auditory, listen to the sound of your inhalation and exhalation. If you are more in touch with feeling i.e. kinaesthetic, feel the breath in your nose as you inhale and feel it as you exhale. Each time your mind wanders simply bring it back to an awareness of your breathing. As thoughts come and go … allow them to do so and bring your attention softly back to your breath. This is the most simple and yet challenging discipline. Practice for three minutes every day then five minutes then ten until you’re comfortably meditating for 20 minutes a day or longer.

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