When Mindfulness and Meditation don't work

Nowadays, you can’t scroll through the internet without seeing an article, video, TickTock, or Instagram post about wellness and mindfulness tools. We get flooded with exercises, tips, and tricks designed to help us meditate and connect with our inner selves, yet few discuss what happens when you tap into yourself but don’t like what you find.

My Meditation Process

During my first phases of mindfulness practice, I had pretty much given up on meditation. Not only could I not switch my brain off, as I am a natural overthinker, but I felt like things were going downhill fast. After a while, the negative self-talk kicked in, and I thought I couldn’t do anything right; even meditating wasn’t working for me!

In essence, meditation is the act of quieting the mind. It’s a rare moment to sit still and do nothing in a productivity-driven world. While this might be a welcome relief for some, it evoked intense feelings of pressure, brought up repressed emotions, and exacerbated past traumas. Moreover, my attempts at “traditional meditation” left me with the gift of prolonged periods of negative thinking.

It took a long time to realize there was no one size fits all solution on my journey to self-discovery. Keeping up with the latest trends wasn’t going to lead me to my destination or unlock the power of meditation. Initially, I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I could not control my consciousness; I couldn’t achieve self meditation. These feelings got so intense that I had to decide whether to reject all helpful self-care practices and continue to suffer or dig deeper. So I started digging!

It's all down to interpretation.

What motivated me to do this? What was my goal? How might things look if I conquered my thoughts and emerged on the other side? The more I explored these questions, the more I realized that my opinions and reality differed. That’s when a lightbulb went off in my head. Meditation and mindfulness are equally important, but they didn’t have to look like the stillness that scared me; they could occupy a different form. 

Meditation is intentionally setting aside time to do something that benefits you. Mindfulness is a general awareness of the world and a formal meditation technique. I realized that sitting in silence and letting my mind run free was not suitable for me.

 Only through art could I achieve a free state of mind by immersing myself in the current moment’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Whenever I create, I do not think of the past or future or judge or label anything I observe. A calm acceptance envelops me, and I develop a deep state of intrapersonal communication. Art making is the meditation practice that allows me to achieve mindfulness!

Art Making and mindfulness meditation

Scientific studies have proven that art therapy can heal depression, trauma, and illness regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. Art mediation connects us with our true selves, removing that fleeting or false sense of self we sometimes have. We can access our innermost self through art making as we enter a state of flow and present-moment awareness. It is in this inner stillness that we thrive.

Give Meditative Painting a Try

Painting as a meditative exercise is powerful in helping people become present with the part of themselves that taps into the frequency of love, possibility, and infinite abundance. If you are an overthinker like me, painting has the power to stop time and put the breaks on your mind. Meditative painting can improve your capacity for focus, concentration, inner peace, and calm. If you have ever struggled to relax your mind or meditate, exploring this practice may be just what you need.

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