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How to Gain Freedom from Your Thoughts

Open awareness

One of the valuable skills in meditation is called open awareness, where you rest in the awareness of awareness. You can then approach situations with fresh eyes, and let go of your habitual reactions and expectations for the future.

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How to Gain Freedom from Your Thoughts

How to Gain Freedom from Your Thoughts

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_gain_freedom_from_your_thoughts

greatergood.berkeley.edu

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Key Ideas

Open awareness

One of the valuable skills in meditation is called open awareness, where you rest in the awareness of awareness. You can then approach situations with fresh eyes, and let go of your habitual reactions and expectations for the future.

The power of open awareness

Some find that being aware of awareness is confusing or even bizarre.

However, upon further reflection, they consider it very peaceful.

Social neuroscientists found when practicing open awareness meditation, Gamma waves that usually occur briefly and in one spot of the brain are elevated all across the brain. It makes you feel a sense of vastness and spaciousness.

Our brain is an anticipation machine

We typically see the world through a set of filters that can limit our experience and keep us stuck in painful patterns of emotion.

Filters help us anticipate what is going to happen next and influence the information our brains receive. When we begin to filter too much, we lose touch with the beginner's mind that is open and without preconceptions.

Relax the filters you have

Major growth can occur when we give up some of the filters that arise in our lives - whether those filters are our expectations of the future, our biases about other people, or the limitations we place on ourselves.

One way to relax our filters is to cultivate access to our inner selves. The other is to have a sense of humor about who we are.

Laughter and humor

When we have a sense of humor about who we are, it opens awareness and connection with others.

Jokes are funny because they move in an unexpected direction - not where our filters expected it to go. At that moment, we deal with something our filters never saw coming. It opens us up to new learning and more openness.

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Reducing Stress

Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress.

  • In an eight-week study, a meditation style called "mindfulness meditation" reduced the inflammation response caused by stres...

Controlling Anxiety

Less stress leads to less anxiety.

Regular meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Promoting Emotional Health

Some types of meditation can improve depression and help you maintain these benefits.

  • Two studies of mindfulness meditation found decreased depression in over 4,600 adults.
  • One study found that participants experienced a long-term decrease in depression.

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Meditation

Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body.

Concentration meditation

Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. 

In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. 

Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns.

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A Zen Parable

There was a man riding on a horse. When a man walking on the road asks him where he is going, the rider replies, “Why are you asking me? You should ask the horse.”

The ho...

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions. -Salovey and Mayer (1990)

Emotional Mastery

It manifests itself in the kind of statements we make about ourselves, in relation to our emotional skills and success.

Qualities such as confidence, awareness and optimism, come under the umbrella of emotional intelligence. 

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