previous page


Presence, observing and regulating yourself and to consciously and deliberately steer your focus of attention are crucial skills for personal growth and well-being. Meditation is a proven path to develop these crucial and essential competences and to stay centered as well as to deal constructively with everyday challenges. As a positive side-effect you will most likely experience longer concentration spans, better sleep, less stress and better overall well-being. To start your meditation practice you will find guided meditations on my Youtube Channel.


Transcript of the video

Welcome to the space beyond right and wrong.

How can meditation help you to increase your well-being and to lead a meaningful life? And how can you start your very own meditation practice?

So let us briefly look into the context and background: Our blueprint is ten of thousands years old and only partially adjusted to our present time. The older parts of our brain and nervous system are constantly scanning our environment for threats. This is how our survival has been ensured in the past - and of course also today. Whenever we perceive something as a threat, the older areas of the brain and especially our amygdala trigger a stress reaction. All this happens lightning fast, and we either go into mobilization, which you know as fight or flight, or into immobilization, which is freezing. Various stress hormones are released instantly, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline or acetylcholine, and if we perceive stress as negative, additionally cortisol is released, which reduces the activity of the immune system. At the same time, our heart rate, our heart rate variability, our muscle tonus and many more things may alter. In a life-threatening situation this is what saves our life. However, we often consider situations to be much more threatening than they actually are. Perhaps you have observed a child who starts to cry when a stranger approaches. Or you may have noticed your own stress reaction when a discussion became heated or there was an argument or maybe when you gave a presentation. Not only are we often exposed to stress reactions with all the negative effects, the older areas of our brain, especially the amygdala, also have the characteristic to switch the body into emergency program and to shut down non vital functions. So exactly in situations where you need your abilities and skills - respectively your rational thinking - most, you can not access them as your cortex, the newest part of your brain is shut down.

One could say that the world has become modern, but humans have not. In our modern and dynamic world of today you probably meet more people in one month than you met 5000 years ago in your whole life. At the same time, we are constantly exposed to a flood of stimuli and information we are not able to process and are in constant distraction. Our monkey brain jumps merrily from one tree to the other and sometimes even makes capers. And because our conscious, rational thinking is mostly in the past or the future, we are rarely in the now - in other words, present. According to science, people have an average of 40-60,000 thoughts per day and 80-90% of what we think today, we already thought yesterday and the day before. It is the repetition of the repetition of the repetition of the repetition and constantly the same cycle. The continuous repetition of our stories may give us the illusion of a stable self and security but prevents us from realizing the potential and possibilities of uncertainty and change.

Meditation is an exercise and at the same time a life practice that supports you in creating a more satisfying life. This applies equally to both your private and professional life. Meditation supports you to be more present - to experience the now instead of being trapped in the past or future -, to deal with uncertainty in a more constructive way and to consciously control your attention. How you perceive the quality of your life is simply the sum of what you focus on and what you have noticed. And you probably experienced for yourself how swiftly we enter into rumination and get in a downward spiral. Or as Mark Twain once said: I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened. Because of our insufficient adaptation to the challenges of today's world, we are challenged to deal constructively with all these phenomena through continuous practice. However, meditation is all too often confused with a relaxation exercise, but it is an attention-focusing exercise.

If you start your own meditation practice, you will perceive and experience three essential steps of development in a relatively short time. In the beginning you will develop presence. Instead of being on autopilot and stagnating in the same stimulus-response patterns, your presence enables you to notice where you are with your attention and to break free from your worn-out patterns. This is not only the prerequisite for change, but also reduces rumination. In the second step, you learn and experience to dis-identify and detach yourself from negative thoughts and emotions. Whenever we are fused with a negative thought or emotion, it dominates us and controls us - a bit like amygdala hijack. There is a fundamental difference between being anxiety, having anxiety or perceiving and observing that anxiety arises within you. When you step out of anxiety and dis-identify there is a subject and an object, an observer and that which is being observed. Only when I objectify thoughts and emotions, in other words make them into objects, will I be able to change them. In the third step you will experience an increase in freedom. You learn and experience to consciously steer the focus of your attention. In our Western world we are socialized and educated to deal with problems and situations in two ways. Either we try to solve a problem - hence go into the problem - or we repress it. In both cases we supply the problem with energy and make it bigger. Energy flows where attention goes! Meditation enables you to focus your attention on what is beneficial and meaningful to you right now in this very moment. At the same time you withdraw energy from negative thoughts and emotions and they quickly subside. By the way, you will also enjoy all the additional positive side effects: a general reduction of your perceived and physical stress level, an improvement in the quality of your sleep, an increased ability and span of concentration, an improved impulse control, the general improvement of your well-being and much more.

Let us now turn to the practical side of your meditation practice and how to start. Especially in the beginning it has proven to be very useful to use guided meditations. If you have no meditation experience, start with the Body Scan from MBSR, which stands for Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction. You can practice your meditation anytime during the day or as it fits into your daily schedule. My recommendation would be to do your meditation in the morning to be well prepared for your day. If you have sleep-problem, I recommend to conduct your meditation in the evening, when you are already in bed. In many cases meditation has significantly improved the quality of sleep. The Body Scan can be practiced while lying down or sitting - whatever you prefer. From the third week on it is useful to switch to the so-called Anapana or breath focused meditation and to deepen your practice. Traditionally, this type of meditation is done in a sitting position. Simply take a chair or a cushion and bring your back into an upright position. Based on my experience with thousands of people I have guided in meditation, one misunderstanding reoccurs time and again: in meditation you should stop your thoughts or bring them to a standstill. But as your lungs are made for breathing and your eyes are made for seeing, your mind is made to produce thoughts. It is simply its task and thoughts will never stop. Meditation is more about focusing on specific objects or processes, such as the body and the physical perceptions in the Body Scan or feeling the breath in the Breath Focused Meditation. Thoughts and feelings will keep popping up and your attention will drift away. Especially at the beginning of your meditation practice this is quite natural. The essential thing is to notice where you are and to gently and kindly escorting the focus of your attention back to the object you are observing. And one more thing: don't overburden yourself and start on a small, for example 10-15 minutes, which you then slowly expand to 20 to 30 minutes. The "claim to fame“ for a successful meditation practice is a continuous and daily practice.

I hope I can inspire you to start your meditation practice and to enjoy all its positive effects. As mentioned at the beginning: how we perceive the quality of our life is ultimately the sum of what we have focused on.

Do not believe anything I say - but try it for yourself and practice the art of possibility.

previous page