Meditation: Calm, How to Meditate: Pop Out of Your Thoughts Length: 10 minutes Where: Couch in my Living Room, Los Angeles How It Felt: Peaceful Who Joined Me: Steve (My Husband)
Today’s meditation was about being an observer of your own thoughts rather than being inside them, or even consumed by them. It isn’t a new idea- many meditation programs discuss this in some way or another- but it is one I love. This exact concept is one of the reasons I wanted to do this year-long challenge.
I am an actress. I say this because there is a certain type of person that tends to become an actor. I mean this with zero judgement, so let me say it correctly. We tend to be…. dramatic? Well, let’s say very “in touch” with our emotions. Most actors I know (the good ones, not the ones who just want to be famous) feel things deeply. We tend to be empaths- who else would so want to literally live out the lives of other people?
As such, we don’t always control our emotions so well. We have passion! So much passion! And that means there isn’t always a lot of space between ourselves and our feelings.
I don’t speak for every actor, obviously. I’ve actually met a good deal of actors who have their emotions under control and are balanced, even people. They are lovely, if slightly less fun.
Just kidding, guys. They’re great.
All of this to say, I need help dissociating from my emotional reactions to things sometimes. As I wrote in my opening post, one of my goals is to become less reactive. I really want to be able to slow down and pause more consistently before getting angry, frustrated, sad, or any other wild emotion in response to whatever is happening that moment. I need to be able to keep my emotions right at the surface for my job, but that’s a really hard way to go through life!
So, I don’t want to suppress my feelings in any way, or I may be out of work. I just want to create a little space in which I can live, where I can examine those feelings, look at them objectively for a moment, learn what they are indicating, and then react in proportion to the actual situation. I think I do this okay when I have time to process, but not necessarily in the moment, which can be stressful.
I think meditation might be the missing key!
I believe I got halfway there when I started getting serious about yoga again about ten years ago. Yoga has definitely done as much good for my mind as it has for my body. It’s a great way to pause, to clear the mind of distractions, to focus, to scan for things you maybe didn’t even know you were feeling, and to rewrite stories you tell yourself like, “I have to do this perfectly or I’m failing.”
Meditation feels like just the thing to fill in the remaining gap.
At the moment, this is a theory. I’m no master of “popping out of my thoughts” yet. I couldn’t even sustain that idea for ten minutes today, or really even one. But just knowing it’s something people can learn to do is enough to keep me trying.
Don’t try to control or tame the thoughts, but learn to observe them from a distance, and choose which thoughts deserve your attention. This is the goal. This is the lifelong practice. This is worth striving toward.