“Noticing the ups and downs”

How meditation taught me to find peace instead of searching for happiness

By Jessica Militello

Every morning as soon as I wake up I open up my Lumosity Mind app and meditate for 10 minutes. The app has tons of guided meditations and there is one that I revisit called “noticing the ups and downs.”

As humans, our brains are always thinking- part of the art of meditation is not necessarily to have complete calm and silence in your thoughts, but simply noticing yourself getting distracted by a thought or feeling. That in itself is training your mind to notice when it is getting caught up with things that aren’t necessarily important in the moment, or if you are revisiting a situation from the past that is over and done with, or rehearsing for something in the future that hasn’t and may not even happen.

You don’t have to follow every thought that pops up; and you also don’t necessarily have to do anything about what thoughts or feelings are coming up. One of the best things I’ve learned is the delicate art of noticing feelings or thoughts that arise without shame or judgement, simply letting it come and pass. It is normally when we judge ourselves for what we are feeling that we add to it and let it linger. This is how a bad mood can turn into a bad day. Pushing your feelings down only saves them for later and trying to constantly be busy or distracted so that feelings won’t come up will only work for so long; this is still just storing it for another day and time. There are certain feelings that are always harder to digest-loneliness, sadness, anger, anxiety, and grief always seem to carry the most shame. But it has been when I softened my approach toward my feelings and had compassion for what I feel instead of judgement that they come and go more easily. It has also made me learn to appreciate happiness, because like all feelings, they come and go. The search for happiness will always come up short because happiness is a feeling. I am learning that it is better to find peace; peace that when sadness or grief comes to visit that it will go, and peace to enjoy happiness in the moment knowing that it also will come and go. Learning to flow with my emotions is one of the most important lessons that meditation has taught me.

If you don’t meditate or gave up on it because you found yourself still having tons of thoughts and getting distracted, it’s worth it to give it another shot. Trying something new is like trying a new sport or hobby that you’ve never done before. Everything takes time and after a while of being consistent with it, you will definitely notice improvement.

Is there a meditation app you like to use? Is there any music or a place in nature that you seek when you meditate? Leave your comments below-

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