Why caregiver meditation is so important

Why caregiver meditation is so important

Meditate to Meet and Examine that Voice in your Head

Caregiver meditation promises to benefit literally all aspects of your being – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Have you noticed that whether caregiving or in everyday life, you will have constant chatter in your head – in other words, a non-stop nattering - that goes on in your head 24 hours a day?

Spiritual teachers, like the Buddha, have told us for centuries that meditation improves our health and well-being.  Western scientists have now thoroughly researched the purported benefits of meditation and the evidence strongly supports these claims.

For the caregiver, the list of meditation benefits is extensive:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Stronger immunity
  • Better quality of sleep
  • Better pain management
  • Improved concentration and focus
  • Better emotional regulation
  • Faster recovery from stress reactions
  • Feelings of contentment, peace, and happiness
  • More spiritually connected

What I want to explore in greater detail right now is how caregiver meditation changes our relationship with ourselves, or more accurately, with our mind, and how meditation can make us better caregivers.

Have you noticed that whether caregiving or in everyday life, you will have constant chatter in your head – in other words, a non-stop nattering - that goes on in your head 24 hours a day?  

As Michael Singer advises in The Untethered Soul, “If, after reading this, you are hearing ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have any voice inside my head!’- That’s the voice we’re talking about.”

Everyone, especially caregivers, has this constant, internal chatter going on, but the only difference is that some are more aware or conscious of it than others.

Caregiver meditation gives us a first-hand experience at recognizing this voice, with the subsequent realization that we are NOT the voice in our head. Instead, we are the one who hears it and has power over it.

Have you ever tried to tell yourself that you’re not going to think about anything, only to find that you end up thinking about things even more? Or, have you ever tried to fall asleep by telling your thoughts to stop or even shut up?

Well, you can’t actually turn your mind off, as it is your mind’s job to think. What you can do, however, is learn to tone down its voice and learn to ignore it.

As caregivers, this is invaluable and this is what meditation offers.

You might be thinking, “Well, what’s the big problem with this voice? It guides me in life and helps me.”

Really? Upon closer examination, you will find that most of this nattering is negative and destructive at its worst, and at best, distracts you from being fully present to your experiences or moments. That is, the voice is typically critical and judgmental of you and of others.

Believe it or not, your mind’s constant chatter isn’t the enemy. That inner voice you constantly hear while caregiving was actually developed to protect us from harm and help us feel emotionally safe and happy.

Your internal voice is like a running commentary of likes and dislikes, beliefs, opinions, judgements about your experiences, yourself and other people. This voice tends to focus on the past (“I should have said this instead”) and the future (“When I meet or talk to this person, I am going to tell them about…”), which distracts you from being in the present moment.

So, back to caregiver meditation and the question of why meditate? 

Meditation is the best way to learn that the voice in your head is not YOU. Furthermore, this awareness naturally leads you the realization that you do not have to believe everything it says.

When you unlock the benefits of caregiver meditation mentioned above, you will feel more liberated and ready to take on the responsibilities of caregiving without the worry of self-recriminations or doubts.

You will learn to appreciate and stay in each moment, instead of brooding over the what-ifs and could-have-beens, turning you into a more confident caregiver.

See also Jane Vock's Elizz article on Caregiver Stress Management through Self Awareness.

 

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