When we start our meditation session, we sign up for a diverse set of experiences coming from within, and it’s one of the deepest forms of self-exploration. In other words, experiencing another world.
But with that comes a plethora of ups and downs, in the sense that we put ourselves in a position where we experience a certain trauma, which some see as a dark side to the practice.
That trauma will remain for as long as it hasn’t been dealt with, it’s part of the journey and part of our personal growth for it to manifest when we meditate in the form of repressed memories. This can pose a challenge for many, and it’s what determines many individuals’ perceptions of meditation.
Now, depending on the severity of this trauma, some opt for the help of a professional whereas others are to confront that trauma and grow stronger from it mentally.
Not all thoughts are bearable when meditating, but it’s often a way to get to know our truest, rawest selves. Meditation is, after all, a shift in paradigm, where we start to question who we are.
There’s a clear discrepancy between who we are and who we think we are that many don’t realize until they start going deep into meditation.
While traumatic memories are common in meditation, it’s crucial to address these memories to break free from the subconscious agony that often impairs someone’s quality of life.
Some choose to combine meditation with hypnotherapy for this purpose, because facing the shadow that’s within is difficult.
If facing the shadow is difficult, the meditation session will be harder to complete, and it’s not uncommon for the practitioner to see meditation as something negative, more so when the mind already hates the practice to begin with.
To prevent this from happening, it’s worth noting that not all meditation experiences will be the same, and it does take pushing through what’s negative in the mind to start seeing meditation in a positive light.
Traumas often act as gatekeepers of progress with meditation, but the longer it’s neglected, the more there’s a risk for the trauma to grow stronger over time, to the point where it would be manifesting in inopportune times.
If you’re getting into meditation, be ready to face your demons as much as you’re ready to face your angels, and detach any expectation from the meditation, instead, be an observer and let the experience happen to you.
If any negative thought pops up, acknowledge it, let it go, and return your attention to the meditation. This may seem oversimplified but it’s what it takes to push through obstacles when we are meditating.
You may receive additional or different tips if you are meditating under a guide since there are meditations built to deal with shadow work, which is the part of us that’s been repressed all these years but that often gets in the way of being your truest self because the image of your truest self is based on who you think you are.
Now, here are some additional tips if you are wanting to make meditation work but struggle with traumatic, negative memories:
Meditate with your pet: Pets provide unconditional love and make great meditation partners, we can learn a lot from pets and they make the meditation more wholesome.
Meditate with someone else: It can feel a bit intimidating to face traumatic memories alone. You could meditate with a partner so you both can walk the journey towards becoming your best selves while overcoming challenges that are prone to manifest together.
Meditation is all about being in the present moment, and if you are experiencing a traumatic memory, and bring it to the present, it could make it less intimidating.
That’s because you’ve grown into a different person over the years, and you might’ve grown to the point where you feel emotionally equipped to face that traumatic memory, to begin with, and ultimately put an end to it by overcoming it.
We all want the meditation to go as smoothly as possible and just experience positive memories. The problem is that we can’t control our thoughts if we haven’t become observers yet.
However, there is the possibility of experiencing positive memories in the past that you may also have repressed or the mind archived to make space for other memories.
You could get some wisdom from positive memories and they could contribute to being a missing piece of the puzzle to figure out who you really are. Since it’s many times our experiences that shape us.
There might’ve been a memory in your past that shaped you a certain way, so it does help to acknowledge it and bring it to the present so you can joyfully experience the meditation, by using that positive experience to build you up and as a receipt for greatness.
It might be a way to reshape your goals or provide clarity to your goals, because you might’ve had a dream in the past that you forgot of, but deep down, always wanted to make a reality.
Meditation Can Boost Your Memory
Not only can you bring back memories from the past, but you can also boost your memory, overall expanding your inventory on what you can hold at the same time.
One way to shortcut your way to becoming a high achiever is by meditating, boosting your memory, and becoming a better performer. Meditation is especially beneficial for those who are studying as they can do so in an undistracted environment.
Now, what’s good about expanding your memory is being able to store past and present memories and compare your progress over the years and who you’ve become. You might share belief systems you had in the past or grew past certain belief systems, which is a sign of growth, to begin with.
The more thorough your image is about yourself, the easier it is to move in the right direction with meditation.
However, it’s worth remembering that you can in some cases choose to keep a certain memory of the past or discard it if you’ve already overcome it, depending on if you determine that memory serves you or not.
While you wouldn’t be able to store exactly all your memories, you could keep some that played a role in building who you are today.
Observing Your Memories
Many get bothered by their memories because they attach their sense of self to them. But it’s worth remembering that just like you are not your thoughts, you are not your memories either. Your memories are constantly changing and new ones will come and go.
But the more mindful you become about this process, the less of an attachment you’ll have to these memories. You can’t always choose which memories to have, just like you can’t choose which though you have all the time.
With meditation, you learn to become an observer that doesn’t attach labels to things, and it will often lead to conserving memories that serve you while letting go of those that don’t.
You can bring back memories with meditation, both negative ones, and positive ones. Remember not to dwell on them and use them instead as an opportunity for growth towards becoming the best version of yourself.
Understanding that you will experience both negative and positive memories from the past helps you create reasonable expectations with meditation and lets you know somewhat what you can expect, even if it’s nearly impossible to predict how your meditation experience will go until you do it.
Don’t get attached to a specific meditation session you had thinking you’ll be able to replicate it, instead, try focusing on keeping the habit alive and consistent.
Over time, as you get better at meditation after going through a wide range of experiences, it will easier to steer the experiences into something calming and soothing, which will often come as a byproduct of being in the present moment and focusing on your breath, to begin with.