This new article will show you everything you need to know about how to do awareness meditation to change your behavior.
Can awareness meditation serve as tools to change one’s behavior? It turns out that for many of us, the regular observation of our reactions, thoughts, and emotions can even be a foundation for effective self-work. How can we change our inner self through the practice of meditation?
Meditation is one of those techniques whose benefits are not limited to one or two areas of our lives.
When I started practicing regularly, my goal was to cope with stress and find inner peace.
Without a doubt, I managed to achieve this, but something else happened then. I noticed that I was much more focused during the day. Not just on work, but on everything in general.
When I read a book, I am 100% in the world of that book. When I talk to another person, I am all of myself in this conversation. Without being distracted continuously by chaotic thoughts, I could finally be where I am and do what I do.
This significantly improved the quality of my life as every experience deepened and sharpened.
Inner peace, higher concentration, and the ability to live in the present have become part of my everyday life. I have been meditating for several years, and I can barely remember what it was like to live with a chaotic mind. However, only recently, I have noticed that regular meditation has brought me another invaluable benefit.
It is a massive contribution to my work.
Initially, I didn’t see it because I practiced personal development with the help of various methods and techniques in parallel with meditation. Without a doubt, meditation helped me, but I didn’t think that (apart from its apparent benefits) in itself could be a way to change my behavior.
However, for some time while I have been focusing on other things, my regularity in using various techniques of working on myself has decreased considerably. Surprisingly, this has not affected the pace of my internal development.
I noticed that regular meditation allows me to have constant insight into my inner self. My daily observations bringing more awareness and understanding allow me to change my thinking, attitudes, and behavior slowly but almost effortlessly.
It seems that meditation has even more potential than I expected so far. It turns out that it can be a handy tool for internal change, also if we do not use other methods of working on ourselves.
How is that possible?
One of the inherent characteristics of human nature is automatism. Our brain automates most of the behavior. We don’t have to think all the time how to breathe, brush our teeth, or react to stressful situations. Actions that are not accessible to our consciousness are beyond our control.
Usually, it is only after the fact that we notice that we have done something we didn’t want to do. Without being aware of what is happening before and during this behavior, there is not much we can do about it.
When you meditate, your consciousness is growing.
You become more aware – not only during the practice of meditation itself but throughout the day. You start to hear your thoughts and become aware of them. You begin to see your feelings and emotions better and have better contact with them. You also notice your behavior – not just after the fact, but during or even before you do something (for example, you realize that you want to yell at someone a moment before you do it).
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How can this self-awareness help you to change your habits, automatic reactions, and behavior?
I will describe it with an example from my life. I used to have a problem with being too impulsive in my anger response in conflicts with my girlfriend. Sometimes when affected by some hurtful words or behaviors, I lost control and got into a kind of rage that wasn’t easy to get out.
I will now show you step by step how only through meditation and attentiveness did I free myself from this destructive and often damaging reaction.
What I am writing about below has happened over two or three years – fortunately, we haven’t had so many opportunities for conflict to go through this process of change in less time.
1. At first, I was only aware of the loss of control over myself after the fact.
When I managed to calm down, I had a moment to reflect on what had just happened. I realized then that I had fallen into anger once again, even though I wanted to avoid it. I felt like some demon would step into me and take over and do whatever it wanted with me.
2. Regular meditation made me start noticing my destructive behavior a little earlier.
At a particular stage, I became aware of this anger while it lasted. Unfortunately, this did not change my reactions in any way. The habit was healthy enough (and the awareness low enough) that I continued my behavior and couldn’t stop.
After some time, the light of consciousness began to shine more and more strongly in my head.
A warning voice also spoke to me more and more clearly, “See; you’re doing it again! Stop it, or you’ll regret it later!” It allowed me (though with great effort) to interrupt my behavior during it. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower, sometimes at all – but I was thrilled with the apparent progress. I was getting better and better at controlling my destructive states.
4. Finally, awareness began to appear even before the anger appeared.
At some point, I just started to get in touch with my emotions, even if getting involved in an argument was very tempting, and some of me wanted to do it. It was evident to me that I was on the verge of entering into what was so familiar to me – anger and a desire to hurt the other person.
And most importantly, I had space in my head to choose another way. I could decide that instead of being angry, I would feel the situation of the other party and direct our conversation to the pursuit of understanding.
Of course, from time to time, I get angry. Although I’m usually an oasis of calm, some things can put me off balance. If that happens, the intensity of these emotions is much lower, and I can get out of them much faster.
In most cases, I can put out the fire when it is still the size of a burning match. It gives me an extraordinary sense of control over myself and protects my relationship from unnecessary turbulence.
You can go through a similar process of change with practically any unwanted behavior.
The self-awareness that is stimulated in this way (which from the daily 15-minute meditation (1) spreads to the habit of being attentive throughout the day) has an extensive application in personal development.
Nail biting, the habit of self-criticism, distractions at work through social networks, becoming a victim in conflict with a partner. Some of them will require more attention and will take longer to work on – you can free yourself from others after just 2 or 3 weeks.
How To Do Awareness Meditation
If you decide to work in this way on your behavior, please read these guidelines:
Observing yourself during the day without the regular practice of meditation (even once a day) is extremely difficult and for many impossible. The exercise of meditation makes our self-awareness muscle undergo daily training, so we begin to notice many things that are happening in our inner world without much effort.
2. Be patient and forgiving for yourself.
You will probably realize many times the destructive behavior as it happens, but it is not enough to stop it. It’s normal. Give yourself time and be consistent.
You will see that at some point, you will be ready to stop and choose another way. Don’t criticize yourself for failing in this, because guilt is like a virus, quickly killing your awareness.
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3. Meditation alone without the intention of working on a problem may not be enough.
Decide what kind of behavior you want to work on and pay special attention to the moments when this reaction occurs. Think regularly about the fact that you want to change this and remind yourself of it in all possible ways.
4. Think about alternative behavior.
When I learned to stop my anger, I always focused on expressing my emotions – on talking to Kate about what I feel (healthily and constructively).
If you have no alternative to unwanted behavior, the change will be much more difficult. So if you have to bite your nails – grab a squeeze ball, if you have criticized yourself – start saying beautiful things to yourself, and if you have been tempted to go to facebook while working – get up and look out the window for 60 seconds.
Behavioral change by awareness is only one of many uses of meditation in working on oneself. There are many more of these benefits.
For example, when you meditate regularly (1), you start to find the source of your problems. You begin to realize which exactly thought or emotion is behind what you want to change.
Another application of awareness is to get to know yourself – when you observe your reactions in various life situations, you start to understand which people / in which cases / in which places / with which tasks at work you feel good and which you do not.
With this knowledge, you will make better decisions. You will choose goals that are in harmony with you.
Meditation is, without a doubt, the best mind training ever conceived. I wouldn’t give up my 15-minute practice this morning for anything. I hope I have managed to inspire you to incorporate this simple and challenging exercise into your everyday life.
If you don’t meditate yet but want to start to declare your will, a public commitment will undoubtedly help you to take the first step. And if you are already meditating, what are the effects of meditation in your life?
Thank you for reading this article about how to do awareness meditation and I really hope that you take action my advice.
I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.