Examining thoughts - how we think about problems

This meditation helps to examine one problem from many different frameworks to prevent blocked thinking patterns.

Current mood

Confused about an ongoing problem

Circling thoughts but no new ideas on a long-term conflict

Looking to explore the issue from different standpoints to understand the situation better

Time

 20 minutes

Preparation

Select a problem that has been on your mind for awhile. During the meditation, you may want to write down insights at each step. 

Meditation

Step One. Close your eyes. Relax your shoulders. Find a comfortable position. Listen to the sound of your breath.

Step Two. As you listen to the sound of your breath, think about a situation or problem you are dealing with right now. A few may come to mind, just pick one you are ready to explore right now. Think about the problem for the next few minutes.

Step Three. With your eyes still closed, let’s start to notice our thinking patterns on the problem. When you think of the situation, are you filtering out other aspects? Try now, to see the whole picture. Think of some positives in the situation. What are some things you have learnt?

Step Four. In this problem, do you think in terms of good and bad people doing good and bad things?

Let’s re-examine the good and bad and put percentages on the outcomes. Maybe a person’s behaviour was 80% unsatisfactory. Maybe, when we think of an outcome it would be 80% good and 20% bad.

Step Five. Let’s take a few minutes to consider the evidence you have on the problem. Do you have enough evidence? Is this evidence coming from one source?

Step Six. Take a deep breath in and out. In this problem you are considering there is most likely a human element. You may have used mind reading to help make sense of the problem. Have you actually asked the person their thoughts?

Step Seven. Take a deep breath in and out. Is this problem actually as catastrophic as you think? What are the odds of a catastrophe actually occurring? Sometimes our mind magnifies fearful thoughts. It’s important to take a step back and get the thoughts into proportion.

Step Eight. Bring your awareness to your breath. Notice your chest and lungs move as you inhale and exhale. Let’s consider if you have personalised the situation. Is it really about you? It is likely that this could have happened to anyone and it is not intrinsic to your personality, it is just a result of factors. Perhaps you were in the wrong place in the wrong time but now you have the opportunity to react to the situation in a way that you can be proud of.

Step Nine. Take a breath in and out as we return to the problem. Does this problem exist because you think people should do things in a certain way? We each have our own values and those values are personal, are you imposing your views on other people?

Step Ten. Now imagine this problem is dissolving away. It is just fading more and more as you start to focus on your breath. You notice each inhale and exhale.

Step Eleven. Start to move your wrists and your toes slowly and when you are ready look at the ground in front of you and slowly raise your head. You might want to have a drink of water and a stretch.