For Developing An Adaptive Mind and Managing Personal Change
There are many meditation techniques and meditation practises.
The over-arching goal of most meditation techniques is to gain a degree of control over the mind and freedom from the incessant flow of thoughts and internal chatter - the "monkey mind" as it is sometimes referred to - to relax and relieve stress, and to realise increased or higher states of insight and perception.
At the most basic level, the state and quality of your mind has a very large bearing on the quality of your experience of life, and very specifically on your capacity for managing personal change.
Meditation techniques in the context of managing personal change
This is not intended to an indepth explanation of meditation techniques and practises, nor am I approaching this from the perpective of any particular belief system.
This site is predominantly focused on organisational change management and this section of the site is focused specifically on managing personal change.
So it is from this perspective that we will briefly take an overview of 3 generic meditation techniques that can assist us in the development of an adaptive mind and our approach to managing personal change.
If you want more detail on the wider background to this subject, Wikipedia have a very detailed and thorough page HERE.
What is the point of meditation?
Regardless of the specific meditation technique you are using, the end result is that you are doing something to your mind.
If you do enough of it, your mind will become quieter.
It's bit like what happens at a party, if you stay there long enough (and reasonably sober!) the number of people thins out, the noise levels diminish, and eventually if you stay long enough it becomes quiet and you can look around at the post-party debris with a reasonable degree of clarity.
As you still your mind through meditation, it becomes much easier to watch your your thoughts and emotional states as they arise and cease - to observe the recurring pattern of your thoughts and emotional states, and eventually to watch yourself as you get caught up in these thoughts and states and for a while become totally identified with them.
Then, you start to see the connection between these thoughts and states and what shows up in your life - how to a certain degree you are creating your reality, or at the very least, how you are creating your experience of what is impacting you.
Eventually, there will be intervals where you won't be looking at everything through the filters of the mind, and you'll be able to see past your mind and you will have glimpses and insights of who you really are.
OK time out for 3 minutes - will you try something?
Can you spare 3 minutes?
Can I ask you to take 3 gentle deep breaths and just focus on the sensation of your breath flowing in and out through your nostrils.
Click the play button on the sound player that's underneath the picture below, and take 3 more breaths continuing to focus on the sensation of your breathing as you look at the picture below.
Try to focus your eyes on the island with the swan on it in the middle of the picture.
Then slowly read the words below the picture.
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course? Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?
Tao Te Ching
OK what are you feeling - right now? Don't think about it. What word immediately arises? Just note it.
Do you feel slightly different after that? Maybe a subtle change in your energy level or slightly more relaxed?
Alternatively, maybe you feel irritated and a certain degree of resistance arising accompanied by thoughts of: "I don't do meditation" or "what the heck's this got to do with change management and managing personal change?"
Or maybe you feel nothing?
The point is that it doesn't matter what you feel. The point is that you are aware - directly, of what you are feeling - and without comment, evaluation or assessment.
This little exercise illustrates 2 of the 3 meditation techniques that I recommend to you as powerful and effective tools for developing an adaptive mind. These meditation techniques are:
(1) Guided meditation
with a focal point which could for example be relaxation, or engendering specific qualities such as compassion, or developing insights into the nature of time, mortality.
(2) Mindfulness meditation where you just sit and observe (without narrative or analysis) your own thoughts and internal states,you also watch the recurring or autonomic nature of your thoughts and feelings and how you get immersed in them.
(3) Binaural meditation where you take advantage of binaural beat technology by listening through headphones to a prerecorded sound track with embedded binaural beats.
Where does this all lead?
If you keep going with any or all of these meditation techniques, you start to realise - by that I mean that you know from your own direct experience, it's not an idea - the illusion that you are a separate entity: "a separate ego in a bag of skin" to quote the late Alan Watts.
Whenever anyone, regardless of culture or belief system or point in time, persists with their meditation practise they all report the same thing (although it may be expressed in differing ways) and that is that they contact reality directly, without the filter of the mind.
When this happens, the meditator instantly knows who he or she really is - "the going on of it all, and the nothingness out of which it all arises, moment by moment, endlessly".
When life is seen from these perspectives, the whole business of leading managing and surviving organisational change and the personal challenge of managing personal change, looks quite different.
I do not mean that the problems and issues just melt away, they don't, at certain stages they seem to increase in volume and intensity, but that how we interact and relate to and deal with these things changes.
In simple practical terms we are better able to cope - we develop the capacity for a truly adaptive response to change.