06: Playtime Q&A – Watching the mind vs. clearing the mind

Watching the mind vs clearing the mind

 

Question

Today’s question comes from Roman Castro, a fellow podcaster I met recently at Podcast Movement. While I did record his question from my iPhone, we were in a noisy conference room and there is a bit much background noise which I don’t want to put you through. So pretend for a moment that my voice is a bit deeper and with an American accent, Roman says…

When I think of meditation I think of observing what my mind is doing whether it is observing my breath or whether it’s getting distracted from observing that breath and having thoughts instead. There’s no objective to remove thoughts or clear my mind.

However, I notice that some people talk about medtitating and say “Oh yeah, I meditated and cleared my mind for 10 minutes and I thought about nothing. Or I got upset and instead of getting upset and processing it, I pushed it off to the side and ignored it.”

So Romans questions are: Is that considered meditation?
Are they both meditation?
Which one’s better?
Do they both work?

Answer

So that’s the questions. Now the short answer to all those questions is YES, they are both meditation, they do both work, and actually, neither is any better than the other.

However, let me explain further.

Sometimes when you meditate you may have lots of thoughts, you may start off simply observing your mind or your breath but constantly go off on thought and feel like you have a busy mind. As long as you continue to keep coming back to watching/observing that is fine – it’s no drama. It doesn’t mean you’re failing at meditation, just treat it as a gentle flowing dance between the two states, watching and thinking.

Other times you may sit down to meditate, doing the exact same technique but this time, the mind is still, there aren’t any thoughts, it’s just silent. So why the two different experiences? Well, it depends on the state of the mind and the body when we sit down to meditate. The body, the mind, the nervous system is always changing, it’s always in a state of flux, there are always different factors at play. It could come down to the time of day, how tired you are, what you just ate, coffee or sugar and going to have a different effect on the body and mind than say a green juice or a salad or meat, how much exercise you’ve been doing, how stressed you are at work or at home. Everything always changing, right?

So then it makes sense that your meditation will always change. In fact, I would have to say I’ve never experienced two meditations the same. Sometimes it’s busy, sometimes it’s quiet. My only job is not the judge how it looks and just do it regardless, returning to my techniques over and over again, 100, 1000 times if I have to.

So they are both working. and while we may have a preference, I’m guessing you probably would prefer a quiet peaceful, silent meditation to one filled with lots of thoughts, actually that doesn’t mean one is better than the other. Either way, you are creating a space for the mind and body to rest and recharge, what happens next is simply what the nervous system needs to release in order to get that rest.

It was great to meet Roman and chat about meditation with him. When I asked what his podcast was about though, he was a little reluctant to tell me. Turns out that his podcast is about spearfishing and he was a bit worried I might not that cool about killing animals, which I actually thought was kinda funny. Spearfishing actually sounds like quite a sustainable way to catch fish if you ask me, you have to really work for it and it’s all done by hand. And when we really got into it, turns out spear-fishing is actually a form of Freediving. Roman talked about how quiet it was under the water, and how you had to be very present, you had to watch your breathe and have control of your breathing. And he talked about how incredible that experience of being under the water was, how he often experienced deep peace and contentment while out free-diving. So it turns out, Roman also has a podcast about meditation!! So if that sounds like your kinda thing, go check it out at http://www.spearonation.com/ That’s spear, the letter o, nation.com

 

Resources

I wanted to take a moment to share an amazing meditation resource with you. If you’re looking to be inspired with your meditation practice please check out the MORE series of 11 short films. Produced by my good friends, Greg Hopkinson and Sally Lewis. These inspiring short films of people from all walks of life sharing how they have achieved the most important thing: self-discovery through meditation.

From artists in the flow, to people living peacefully and joyfully with illness, everyone has found a way to find a sense of connection and purpose. Read more below. I really can’t recommend these short films enough and Greg and Sally have now made them available for free on YouTube. To link directly to the full playlist simply head to www.lilab.life/MORE

Before I sign off today I just want to express my gratitude to all my listeners who have taken the time to subscribe to the show in the first week. And in particular, I want to give a shout out to Jennabelle from New Zealand. Now, I shared the show with pretty much everyone that I know on social media last week and asked them to rate and review the show for me. But my first review has come from Jennabelle and I don’t actually know Jennabelle, to my knowledge at least, So Hey, Jennabelle – I was super excited to hear from you, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and I’m so stoked you’re enjoying the show.

I would love to hear what you thought about today’s episode, you can reach out to me at lila@lilab.life, and yes, that is .life and not a .com – .life is so much cooler don’t you think?
And if you would like some support with your meditation practice you can also email your questions to me at lila@lilab.life too.

And with that, I want to express my gratitude to you for listening and praise you for your willingness to show up, play big, be courageous, find peace and live happy.

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