Wednesday, 25 March 2015
How Meditation Made Me a Better Parent
From The Huffington Post
by Hilary Achauer
"...The difficulty with meditation is that it's hard to tell if anything is happening. You sit there, doing nothing, for longer and longer stretches of time. The inactivity is deceptive, of course. What's actually going on is a mighty struggle to control your thoughts.
The goal of meditation is to completely clear your mind, and to focus on sitting, or breathing. The goal is to quiet the rush of thoughts that flow through the mind at all times. It's incredibly difficult. When you're starting, you are lucky if you can achieve a quiet mind for a few minutes, or a few seconds.
Twenty minutes is a very long time to sit still. As a working mom of a 6-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, my mind is a constant ticker tape of to-do lists and appointments.
To make the experience even more difficult, at the beginning of the 20-minute sessions, Andy asked us to think about how our meditation would benefit those around us.
I was doing meditation for myself. I spend much of my time taking care of my family--why couldn't I have this for myself?
However, as a good rule-follower, I hastily thought, "I'd like meditation to help me be more patient with my kids. Then I put it out of my mind and tried to focus on my breathing..."
"...One of the most challenging times of the day for me is late afternoon and early evening. As soon as the kids get home from school, my mind is on the tasks to be completed by dinnertime: homework and making it to practice on time and dinner preparation..."
"...Then one Wednesday I wasn't able to start prepping dinner before my daughter's swim team practice. It was 6:15 and I was driving the kids home with no real plan for dinner. Normally this would have set me a tailspin of anxiety, but I found myself unable to get upset about it..."
"... It wasn't until after the kids went to bed that I realized what had been different about that afternoon. I never became anxious. I never snapped at the kids. I was able to flow from activity to activity without getting caught up everything that lay ahead.
Then I thought back to my meditation sessions. What kind of sneaky magic was this? I hadn't put any thought into changing my behavior..."Read it all