Thoughts can be our Prison: add intent listening and feeling to your meditation practice



I spent six months isolated in my garage huddled in fear, agorophic from avoiding my trauma.

My crime was trying to think my way out of PTSD, cognitively outsmart it.

Thinking (dissociating) fueled my trauma, symptoms intensified, my nervous system sensed imminent danger constantly.

Solution: I learned a specific way of focusing my mind, using hearing, the breath, somatic feeling (sensing my heart) and a visual model as a useful guide.

The visual guide is a continuum, a sort of upright infinity symbol. We see the breath has four distinct parts each as valuable as the other, it can flow like a sheet of music some days.

Then I am inside my nostrils when inhaling and exhaling. The cool air is the inhale, the exhale the warmer exhaust.

The pauses, for me, were the spaces where thoughts entered my consciousness.

My solution was to prioritize these pauses with present moment sensing. Pauses are like suspended animation, the body is as still is it will ever be.

The body makes noises inhaling and exhaling, expanding the lungs then contracting them.

So I used a somatic present moment sensing and intense hearing for my focus objects.

At my pauses I spend time sensing my chest cavity and heart, getting to know my inner world at this most frozen of times.

I may enter my heart and feel it slowing, then listen for its silent beat.

I use hearing as much as focus on the breath along with feeling my internal


Be like a Geiger counter sensing agitation, tightness, pain, anxiety, calm, contentment or unrest during a pause.

Now my pauses had purpose, I would switch from being inside my nostrils for inhales and exhales, to listening and sensing at the pauses.

Thoughts had a much harder time entering my space.

Nothing is full proof and meditating is easier some days then others but even the bad days heal.

Remember, Meditation is not about influencing anything, achieving or overcoming anything, it is not an attack, it is learning to surrender.

Our first goal in meditation is build our focus to the point where thoughts clear and the mind is empty.

The body and mind start repairing and healing around this no thought space.

No cancer will not be cured but optimum mental health can be attained on this journey.




4 responses to this post.

  1. “The beauty of an action comes not from its having become a habit but from its sensitivity, consciousness, clarity of perception, and accuracy of response.” – S.J. Anthony De Mello
    Thought you might like this quote. Meditation is great but it’s no use if you’re simply going through the motions. Thanks for sharing

  2. Thank you for that quote

    Meditation is a way of training the mind to do what is unnatural for it

    It creates an ego and wants to incessantly fill the mind with thought judgment and stories
    Many stories

    We are building focus to let the mind clear of thought
    Bringing us to an empty stage

    A stage that takes practice without reward for a while

    Most quit during this stage

  3. You definitely have to stick with it. I’ve been doing it every day for a year now and it takes a while. I still have good days and bad days. The good days have become more frequent then the bad but its a process. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙏

  4. Looking back some of my bad days I healed the most.

    One thing I was familiar with bring a pro baseball player was the offseason

    We would work out five months in preparation for next season
    Strengthen your weakness build skills

    Our results we saw next season

    We did not need success everyday

    Our goal was to be better in five months

    Most people can not do this

    You have done it for a year and made a base

    Like lifting weights

    This foundation will always be there

    Explore adding listening and sensing your inner world

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