Unexpected meditation lessons at the cinema…
A visit to an action movie learned me two things:
- We can easily concentrate fort wo hours without getting distracted. Concentration abilities are not the problem.
- How a large amount of stimuli can make you loose the connection with your world.
The first point was already clear to me before but got proven again; the problem with staying focused during meditation isn’t the ability to concentrate, it is ability to aim our attention when there is no attractive stimulus around.
What struck me the most was how it lasted a bit before I ‘was myself again’ after leaving the cinema. The enormous amount of stimuli of the explosions and fighting scenes during the movie for the eyes and ears got my system a bit overstimulated. Which made sense because in the two hour summary of two weeks in the life of a fugitive there is a lot more going on than in my regular life. It took me a bit of time to realise my own reality again. Exactly as the filmmaker probably intended I was soaked into the world in the movie.
Actually, this is what happens to us all the time. We are so pulled in to what is going on around us that we lose touch with what is happing with us. All the input from the people around us, our jobs and things we have to do, our busy schedules and especially the many screens and smartphone gives us a lot of distractions. A few decades ago the amount of stimuli we endure now daily existed almost nowhere. We had a lot more time ‘off’. Now even there we are bombarded with input. We even seek the distractions on our devices that are within reach all day long. Where the input from the moviescreen distracts us from our daily life, the stimuli there do the same thing with the awareness of our own world.
Relaxation or distraction
Real relaxation is scarce nowadays and we are overstimulated more and more. Diseases like ADHD/ADD or burn-outs are very normal today and connected to that. In 2014 for the first time in history the cause of disability to work was more because of mental problems than of physical ones. The type of stress is shifting and that this generation has an exponential bigger mental stimulation is pretty clear I think. Ten years ago the first smartphones appeared and Facebook was still small and it is only 25 years ago that the computer became accessible for ‘normal’ people. Times have changed.
Meditation is a very effective tool to help with the challenges of modern times. It’s one of the only things where you look for less stimuli in stead of different ones for relaxation. Relaxation and no distraction, what is the case in almost every for of ‘relaxation’ people choose nowadays. Relaxation is not more of different stimuli, it is less stimuli.
A new dimension of clarity
All these stimuli distract us from ourselves. What we feel and experience and how to cope with that optimally. It distracts us from reality as we perceive it and get lost every now and then. You don’t have to go to the cinema for that. Meditation brings you back to a clear view on and presence with that what is happening. Just like you have to ‘come back’ from the world in the movie, it takes you a bit of time and awareness to come back to the reality of yourself in your own life in your meditation. To experience again what is going on with you, on a deeper level that you are used to. A level that became unknown for a lot of people but is there for everybody. That is also why meditation isn’t easy at first. To get from our normal lives to the level of clarity and peace of mind, we feel as disorientated as we leave the cinema. At first that feels restless and we become very aware of our almost compulsory urge to do something.
It is more than worth it though. Below the superficial restlessness you will find clarity, overview, balance and peace of mind because of which you are able to function more effectively. Life becomes more easy and pleasurable, in every facet of your life. Through meditation this world also opened for me. The serenity of Buddhist monks, that mental balance and peace of mind, is something that always attracted me before. Their lifestyle a bit less though. With meditation I found that you don’t have to become a monk to access what they are expressing. That it is achievable for everybody, also for you! You have to invest in it though: you have to train your mind to gain control over what happens with all the stimuli that reach you all day long.
So instead of seeking a screen in your spare time, see what meditation can do for you. Quickly this will result in more peace of mind, balance and clarity, which people even already experience after their first session. Practice it and it will increase and integrate into your life more and more. You’ll find that you have a choice about how clear you want to be in your life. Enjoy!
Do you want to learn quickly and effectively how to meditate? We would love to help you. Follow one of our meditation programs or follow the easy step-by-step plan in my book: Meditation, your daily mini-break (unfortunately only available in Dutch). It’s very easy and won’t take much time. Try for yourself and experience what meditation can do for you.
I hope this blog helped you get a better understanding of the what meditation is all about. Do you have a different question regarding meditation? Send it to me and who knows, it might the subject for my next blogpost!
Meditation trainer and autor of ‘Meditatie, je dagelijkse minivakantie’
More information about meditation you can find here on www.meditatie.amsterdam and our Facebook page
Interested to work with me?
Do you also want to benefit from all the research and experience I gathered for many years to get to the core of meditation and translate it into contemporary, accessible and practical methods to get the best out of yourself? If you would like to work with me, apply now for one of my next activities.
Beginner or more experienced, I am happy to help you on your way towards more inner peace, balance, energy, clarity and freedom of mind, with methods that can have lifechanging effects within weeks. See you soon!
Roel Wilbers – meditation trainer and author of ‘Meditation, your daily mini holiday’