Transforming Fear to Joy

Understanding & Freeing An Ever-Wandering Mind—The Ultimate Adventure

The fundamental reason for the epidemic rise of anxiety and depression in our human population is because our minds are too full.  We are gorging our minds with too much information and activity without the necessary rest needed for mental recouperation.  Further exacerbating the dilemma is our inability to sleep for eight hours each night.  Less sleep and excess mental activity are a sure formula for mental illness.

Whether your mental illness is the wandering mind found in anxiety and/or depression, deep rest is the remedy.  Deep rest comes in a combination of adequate sleep as well as resting the mind from its 24/7 fight-flight reaction to the world.  Our bodies and minds were not designed to be on guard every minute.  No one can sustain such vigilance without paying the price of ill health.

To be able to shift into a rest-digest frame of mind, we are obliged to come to know ourself and thus to know our mind.  As our awareness of ourself deepens, we recognize that our mind is not who we are but a mere collection of sensations, emotions and thoughts; reactions that may or may not have any truth.  We also discover, through listening to these unconscious reactions, which have true and lasting importance to us.  This gained intelligence then guides us into consciously choosing how to respond internally as well as how to take action in the world.

In essence, I described in the previous paragraph the unfolding process and product of meditation.  It’s that simple.  Quietly, restfully, listen to your mind every day, and you will not only discover who you aren’t but who you are as well as how you can become even more of who you want to be.  That is meditation.

The PURPOSE of meditation is not to switch off the wandering mind.  With a consistent meditation practice, the mind will calm and quiet.  However, this is also not the purpose of meditation.  Meditation provides you the opportunity to better understand your mind, which leads to less distraction from unruly thoughts. 

When we are capable of focusing our mind, that is controlling ourself from distraction, we are capable of deep rest.  Concentration or the ability for single-pointed focus is the bedrock of meditation.  It is how we shift from fight-flight into rest-digest.

I always start my daily meditation with some form of regulated breath practice.  As a result, I become more familiar with how I am breathing, which changes minute to minute, experience to experience.  Our breath rhythm also al