I have practiced meditation for a long time on-and-off. It was exactly a year ago I joined a school and I have taken it very seriously ever since. The effects have been profound. But what has this got to do with you and your study schedule? Well read on and I’ll tell you….
Meditation works at what my teacher calls the ‘root level of the mind’, it changes the way you approach everything you do. The challenges I face in everyday life are magnified at the root level. So when I scuba dive down into my mind the monsters are brutal and fearless. In meditation, I face them at the primal level and ultimately defeat them. Back up at the surface everything is imperceptibly improved. So what have I learned and how can it help you?
You aren’t Worrying about what you think you are Worrying about
Your final grade is important. You cannot change that, just do your best and don’t worry. Simple eh? But before your mind has a chance to implement this string of logic your body is already setting off a reaction loop. The mind notices and says oh no, my body is stressed and sends a distress signal to the body which gets more stressed and signals to the brain things are in trouble. It is a vicious circle. Stop it. Take a breath. Realize you are reacting to nothing. When you calm down – you calm down (sorry, that’s the last cheesy Zen stock phrase I’ll use)
Don’t identify with your thoughts
You are not your thoughts. If your mind says, I’m hungry – I can’t study until I have had a snack realize that it is not you who is hungry it your thoughts. Thoughts come and go like the waves of the sea. You don’t have to listen to them. Still less do what they say. Do not react to negative thoughts and see what happens.
Head for the Discomfort
Pain is subjective. Discomfort is a way your mind keeps you in slavery, I can’t do that it’ll hurt too much the mind says. I suggest whenever you have a thought like this in regards to your college work you go right ahead and do it – push through the difficulty. Soon you will break the power discomfort and fear has over you.
Send Yourself Happiness
Our days involve hard work. It is good to challenge yourself. But it is also important to love yourself just the way you are. For a short period daily close your eyes and send good vibes and love to yourself. You may want to wish yourself happiness or imagine yourself filling with a warm healing light. Then, send this good will out to others, your housemates, your tutors and professors. When you get used to this practice you can use it in your daily life – it is a wonderful tool to have when faced with stressful university situations.
Be Present in All You Do
When you study – study. When you play – play. Focus on what you are doing. If you are struggling, take a break. It is better to work for 20 minutes and those 20 minutes to be totally focused on your task then sit half-focused at your computer checking Facebook every 5 minutes for an hour. You are more likely to make mistakes for one thing.
For more information about the form of meditation I practice, go to: http://www.dhamma.org/