Meditation Column: Be aware of thought patterns and their emotional impact

Defining patterns is a good example of the diversity of words in language. One definition is something made or designed to be used for producing things, as in clothing or molds for products or devices. Patterns may refer to or be defined as behaviors or characteristics of a being, a group or institution. There are speech patterns, patterns of violence and intention, etc. Patterns are often repetitive with similar results producing identical products or having the same results in situations. There are patterns in weather, nature, the galaxy, the universe, etc. There are things arranged, patterns all around us, fields of crops, tiles on floors, the scales of fish. Some patterns are made, some naturally occurring in nature.

It is the repetitive pattern of the functioning of the stream of thought that becomes the focus for the student of meditation. The teacher spoke “through our meditation practices,” focused attention on an object or sound while observing the stream of thought, “our awareness comes to the repetitive pattern of compulsive thinking. These thoughts that come into the mind, by no effort of the thinker, repeatedly, whether beginning as recent as a short moment ago or for as long ago as one can remember, often form patterns. Such patterns may be the result of a trigger, such as when you hear or see something familiar, the repetitive thought comes to mind, a very common condition for those with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Such individuals learn to recognize patterns of such triggers in order to prevent or prepare themselves for the onslaught of thinking and emotions to follow.”

The students planned to repeat the pattern of learning that they practice; digesting and meditating on the knowledge presented to them as they continue their journey to conscious awareness.

Many mental patterns of thinking are quite common. For instance, the thoughts, stories or mental movies your mind repeats, inducing some sort of emotional response that you may label positive or negative. You can see the patterns in yourself as well as others, as you and they from time to time repeat behaviors or thinking, resulting in the same outcome. It is through your awareness, your observation of such patterns that bring them to consciousness, creating room for natural effortless change.

A meditation, try it out here and there or when it comes to mind, or do not. This is a “recognition-type” of meditation. When you catch thought patterns happening or during purposeful observation of your behaviors, bring your attention to your awareness of the repetitive thought patterns you experience and their resulting emotional impact. Not just those patterns that provoke what you may label as negative emotions, include those you label as positive, too. For instance, patterns of thinking that put you to sleep at night, resulting in an emotional reaction. Bringing repetitive patterns of thinking and behavior to your awareness calms the behavior and often eliminates it completely.

It’s a new day. ••