Can meditation bring out too much of your 'serious side'?

Can meditation bring out too much of your 'serious side'?

by Headspace_HQ » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:24 pm

Question:

Can mindfulness bring out too much of your serious side? And how can we approach seeing old friends after experiencing personal changes from meditation?

Andy's Answer:

It's strange to think that anyone close to us would want anything other than peace of mind and happiness for us, no matter what the implications, but of course life is not always that straightforward. It might be worth splitting the question into two separate parts: the experience of anxiety for yourself and the perception of your friends.

With this shift in perspective tends to come a greater sense of calm, together with more clarity around our thoughts and feelings. In this sense it's great that you are witnessing the anxiety in this way and the important thing is to maintain that clarity. If we are able to acknowledge those thoughts simply as 'thoughts' and not get caught up in them, then we are practising mindfulness in the fullest sense of idea.

For your friends, I suspect it might be a little more tricky. We tend to box people up into categories in the mind, you know, so old-so-and-so becomes "that kind of person". The strange thing is, once we've decided what kind of person that is and what box we are going to put them in, we tend to be resistant to changing that opinion. So when friends and family change in some way like this, it's a big challenge for those around them to accept that this is who you are. Sometimes they may even tell you that is not who you are! It's almost as if it doesn't quite compute, as though your behaviour doesn't match with the label on the box they've put you in.

But there is a third part to this as well. The process of unfolding awareness is an ongoing journey. Although it may feel as though you have travelled from A to B, it will continue to change. My own experience and I know that of many others too, is that along the way, it can sometimes feel as though we have really changed a lot, as though we are quite separate from those we were once very close to. Sometimes life can even feel a bit serious.

But as we continue, something seems to change again. It is almost as if we travel full circle. At this stage we lose that serious edge and rediscover a sense of playfulness. At the same time we begin to embrace the fundamental nature of our character rather than resisting or ignoring it. It is a fascinating journey. The result, more than not, is that we re-integrate with all those people, quite naturally, with no effort required whatsoever. In the meantime, it is simply about being sensitive to it.
 
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