ask jamie • the mind-body reality of meditation

Q: What advice would you give to someone who feels so far gone somedays that they cannot be helped and that the years and years they have put into self improvement have been in vain and some days their meditation practice makes them think horrible thoughts?

A: Keep up the practice, change it if you feel it's no longer serving. If these thoughts are arising during a silent seated practice, I would recommend taking a break from silent seated meditation and pick up or increase your kundalini yoga practices. I highly recommend a daily more vigorous physical kundalini yoga practice to carry the meditation afterwards. The physical practice will help to move on any heaviness, stagnation and emotion (especially grief). This can be a good kriya to start with. So is this. As always, if what any practice brings up is too much to handle, please seek help.

I also invite inquiry around the relationship to these said "horrible thoughts". Is there an aversion to them, if so, why? I also invite curiosity towards any superstition towards a meditation practice. Some superstition could look like only wanting to perfect a certain meditative posture, to only focus on feeling good, avoidance of the "bad" (whatever that means); it could also look like "I don't want to feel a certain way because...". Remember, whatever we resist, persists. In my practice and work with clients, I'm most interested in what is in the resistance, if there's any.

"A person once said about sadhana: "Once sadhana is done, nothing should happen to you." I said, "No, when sadhana happens, everything should happen to you, and you should come out as a winner, you should come out victorious." That is what sadhana give you. I doesn't give you a written guarantee from God. The one who does sadhana builds himself such a powerful personality, he can conquer anything!" - Yogi Bhajan

The practice of meditation cleans us, just as dishwashing liquid cleans the grime off the dishes from the meal that it was used for.

We meditate, we practice so that we may become more ok with being with, learning more about, owning, wearing and FEELING all parts of ourselves, our pains, our triumphs, our edges and our ugly past. This will inherently build our adaptability to all the challenges that life may throw our way, without denying or hiding any part of ourselves.

Sure, a meditation practice can help to soothe symptoms of mental/emotional/physical dis-ease, but it does not take away what's causing it but invites us the space to respond proactively and neutrally to whatever/however dis-ease may present for us. Having said that, some things/people/personality traits do just fall away. Whilst some things require actionable steps. When we come out victorious, we create enough space to rise above whatever is the dis-ease or problem. It doesn't take the problem away, it just takes away the power the problem has over us.

Your power is not in the body or the muscles. Your power is your mind—the intuitive mind, the neutral mind—and you cannot have a neutral mind unless you do sadhana and clean your subconscious and unconscious. It's a house cleaning. - Yogi Bhajan

Meditation is inherently a masculine form of practice as it is mind-driven. Being a mind-body practitioner, I'm curious to also check how the basis of the question is manifested in the physical body. In particularly, I am curious especially in the skeletal structure of the lower half of the body? How is the head carriage? Is there highly developed outer thighs (defense mechanism)? Is there recurring lower back pain? Is there overly tight muscles around the shins, inner thighs, inner calves and also poor circulation in the feet that can present as pale, clammy and nervous? Are the glutes always tight and fired? Are the activities one is drawn to exacerbating of any or majority of the above symptoms (running, quad building)? What's the musculature around the jaw area like? Is there grinding of teeth at night? Are the hips tight?

The above questions are some of the base chakra related symptoms that could present itself, again, causing (drumroll) drama / pain in the body, to try to get one's attention to the root cause (base) of the issue. In my practice and studies, oftentimes when there's a sense of hopelessness or feeling hopeless about one's situation, this can present in the body in one's hips. For example, the hips can have an posterior tilt (backwards) representing the "hopeless" energy pouring out to our past, or in some bodies it does the opposite to compensate, with hips tilted overly forwards, causing a lodosis in the lower back (looks like a sticking out of one's bum and a contracted lower back), and all the possible related issues that comes with that.

To close out this response, I highly recommend, on top of your daily practice, to explore work with a body-based therapist who you resonate with, and who understands the energetics of how things related to where and how. Bodywork is so essential and highly beneficial in releasing some of the physical tension buildup without the need to cognitively revisit potentially traumatic memories or situations. It's through the body that we can start to connect with and release the underlying emotions behind these symptoms and thoughts without revisiting the trauma that caused it. Until we release some of these emotions, it continues to remain stored in our cellular structure and continues to run the show. Just as we can't use a broken dishwasher to fix itself, there's only so much we can do solo in our practice, especially if what's coming up feels too heavy to handle. Ultimately, it is through compassionate touch, meaningful human connection that we can give our bodies the nurturance and opportunity to be seen, felt and heard wholly and fully.

Reach out. You are never all alone and most certainly do not have to journey this alone.

15min complimentary discovery calls with me can be accessed here.

or reach out to your local community for bodybased / somatic therapists who you can trust.

Keep on & keep up!

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Ask Jamie is a fun, interactive, informative and completely anonymous way to pick Jamie's brain on all things self worth, self care, career change, life direction, intuition, meditation, and more. 

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