17/06/2019

Catching Zzzz’s & Escape plans

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:41 pm by The Water Bearer

Loud snores rattle out across the room, as the group lay on their Pilates mats in astronaut’s rest pose, trying to stay focused on the guided relaxation portion of the class.

This is a common occupational hazard if you’re a meditation instructor.

Its hard for clients to direct their attention to the “sounds around them” without bursting into laughter at the chainsaw buzzing from someone’s nasal cavity. :o)

I’ve been told that having the ability to put someone to sleep (especially at their first class) is a unique gift I have. I must admit, it is sweet that they are so comfortable in my class that sleep is easy to find.

However, jokes aside, there is something about it that highlights the necessity for increased mindfulness practice in today’s world.

While I’m flattered that some find my voice and relaxation techniques so relaxing that they drift off to slumber, this is not exactly what Sanctuary Stretch is aiming for. If we are on auto-pilot hour after hour and mind-wandering is our mind’s default setting, then trying to slow thoughts and focus them is extremely difficult at first. The mind simply looks for an escape, because focused attention for that long at that slow pace is like lifting weights for our concentration. Falling asleep is a common and initial phase when practicing mindfulness meditation, but its not helpful if we are still falling asleep regularly after a few months of practice.

Many of my clients come to Sanctuary Stretch to help with mental health struggles, as well as seeking flexibility and physical wellbeing. When reality is a place of emotional upheaval, or fear, or pain, or lack of hope, its common for a client to be searching for an ESCAPE.

Peace is certainly a state we are aiming for, however escaping reality to find peace is not a healthy long-term solution. I try to encourage my clients to practice staying awake, staying with me, and watching out for the mind’s escape plans.

You may be asking.. “What’s so wrong with falling asleep during meditation?” (Aside from the obvious snoring that is!)

One of the reasons I believe in the practice of Sanctuary Stretch so deeply, is because it is a carefully considered strategy to combat the struggles of life. That’s right I said combat! Because Combat reminds us of what’s at stake.

I understand the desire to want to escape, to wish you could give up, to feel the pressure is just too much sometimes, I honestly do, just read this post to see for yourself. But I know you are capable of much more than you give yourself credit for, and there are resources that can fill up your arsenal so that rather than looking for an escape, you are more likely to step forward to the front line of the war for your soul and feel competent because you have on your armour, you have your weapons, and your know how to use them.

Its pretty clear to me, that having the confidence to face life’s trials is far more realistic and beneficial than trying to avoid them. Our Inner Enemies of doubt and fear are hell-bent on depleting our confidence and faith, they want us to feel helpless in the face of struggles and trauma. But let’s not fall for the lie that Life is meant to be easy! Its not! Falling for this lie only leads to self-limiting beliefs and bitterness. The friction and contention we come up against in life has a very specific purpose – To prepare us, to mature us, to show us what we are capable of, and to help us reach our highest potential.

Without these things we become atrophic, useless, and defeated, when we didn’t even accept or realise that we are in a war.

So next time you practice mindfulness meditation, catch yourself before your mind escapes, and use your intention to strengthen the muscles of the mind, to get familiar and skillful at wielding the weapons of faith and self-awareness so that you may claim your victory, rather than your retreat!

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