Elise Catchlove is the founder and driving force behind the meditation school, By Catchlove and a close friend of the dk active brand. Elise takes us through the negative thoughts and how to master your mindset through self awareness and meditation.
Have you ever noticed that your mind is constantly telling you stories? And have you ever noticed that these stories are mostly negative, mostly about yourself and mostly repeated from the day before? This is our inner narrative, the predominantly negative feedback loop of criticism and judgement that plays on repeat all day every day inside our mind. These stories affect us in more ways than we even realise. They can cause us to play small, make conservative decisions in our lives and lead to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. Some of the stories we tell ourselves are seriously cruel…
“You’re not cool enough to go to that party. You won’t fit in”
“There’s no way you call pull off those jeans, your thighs are too big”
“You’re not smart enough to take that job, you’re going to embarrass yourself”
“You don’t know enough about that, don’t kid yourself into thinking you can start your own business”
“You’re not smart enough, pretty enough, cool enough, accomplished enough….” And on, and on it goes.
As a meditation teacher, I’ve heard it all before and truthfully, I’ve told myself many of those stories too. But, here’s the thing…. those stories hold very little power, unless of course you believe them. And let’s be honest, it’s hard not to when it feels like they’re running the show, getting louder and louder until we finally give in and say, “ok, ok you’re right. I am stupid”.
So how do we silence the thoughts? The truth is, we can’t. Our mind thinks involuntarily, just like our heart beats involuntarily. How about instead of trying to rid ourselves of the stories entirely, we simply become aware of them and through this gentle awareness, we take back our power? Self-awareness is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It is your best ally to becoming a happier, healthier human. To become self-aware is to live a life fully awake. Without awareness, we simply allow the negative stories to infest our minds and become a part of our identity and instead of listening to our inner voice, we end up listening to our head, which I can confidently say from experience, never leads to a fulfilling life. True freedom is a life led by our heart, not our head.
One of the greatest ways of building self-awareness, is letting go of the mental burden we’re carrying and connecting to ourselves in a deeper way. My personal practice to achieve this, is through meditation. When we meditate, particularly with a powerful transcendent practice like Vedic meditation, we move beyond the mind, diving down into the purest part of who we are, our own true self. This is the Self where there is no judgement, hatred, berating or vitriol, there are in fact no stories at all, just pure love and acceptance. When we touch base with this part of ourselves every day, we begin to identify less with the ideas we have about ourselves and more with who we really are, our truest nature.
Our perception of Self begins to change as we gain greater self-awareness. How you may ask? When we meditate, our awareness is wide open and because we’re experiencing ourselves as who we really are, rather than the idea we have about ourself, our awareness expands. I realise this sounds very woo-woo, but this is the truth of meditation. When I first learnt to meditate 7 years ago, I became acutely aware of the stories in my own mind and gradually through self-awareness and a connection to my true self, I was able to let go of them. Little by little, I became less identified with these stories and as a result I began navigating my life in a very different way. The stories just no longer felt true to me anymore, because meditation gave me access to my real truth.
A note from the Author
If you haven’t learnt to meditate, I would lovingly encourage you to seek it out. There are so many techniques out there, some are easier than others and truly the right meditation practice is the one you stick with but if you need any guidance, please feel free to reach out to me, firstname.lastname@example.org and I can point you in the right direction.