Unwinding the Mind

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

To unwind means “to undo or loosen from a tightly engaged condition:” For a spring loaded toy, it would be loosening the spring from a tightly coiled condition. For a tense mind, it would be loosening it from a tightly suppressed condition.

Most difficulties in life arise when perceptions and memories get suppressed. Such thoughts are then waiting to be released. Relief comes when the mind is allowed to unwind itself.

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Suppression

When too many things are happening at once as in an emergency, and there is impact and pain as in an accident, then there is little time to sort them out. As a result such perceptions get suppressed and become deeply buried memories. One may have some idea of such a memory, but the details are not available to consciousness.

Suppressed memories are waiting for calm moments so they can come up to consciousness, get sorted out, and released.

The stress of daily life, however, does not provide calm enough moments to release deeply buried memories.

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Unwinding

After several sessions of mindfulness meditation the mind begins to settle down and arrive at some calm moments. This provides the mind with opportunity to start unwinding itself. The attention automatically goes to an area of memory that needs to be examined and sorted out.

But that area of memory may have mental pain and confusion associated with it. Under these circumstances one must be cautiously aware of what is unfolding without interfering with it. To become anxious and start digging into the mind for answers is something you must not attempt.

The mind seems to unwind in a certain way to protect itself. It releases suppressed memory slowly so as not to overwhelm awareness with too much pain and confusion. Left to itself, mind will gradually present data that is safe to look at. Any attempt to rush the mind only makes it less responsive and it may get you into deep trouble.

Simply follow the natural flow of attention and closely examine what is unfolding. Do not interfere and try to figure out things beyond what the mind is presenting.

Soon the mental fog shall start to lift and long suppressed material shall come to view followed by realizations. This process may continue even outside the meditation session. Sometimes the mind may take days before all the suppressed data is available to arrive at the answer.

Relief comes from looking patiently and not from searching anxiously.

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Locations & Personalities

You have been using breathing as a stabilizing factor while your mind is settling down (See Settling the Mind Down). This means that as and when attention gets lost during meditation, you bring it back to your breathing and start all over again.

Once the mind has settled down enough the attention goes automatically to a suppressed memory that is available to be sorted out. You use the location or personality that is central to that memory, as your stabilizing factor. If attention gets lost, then you bring it back to the location or personality of that memory, and start all over again.

Use the location or personality central to a memory as your stabilizing factor.

It is possible that the details of the suppressed memory have sorted themselves out and the attention is freed up with a sense of relief. In that case, you may not even care about that memory, or its location and personalities. If the sense of relief is great, you may even end the meditation session, and enjoy the win. Otherwise, you may go back to breathing and simply wait to see what the mind brings up next.

Session after session you let the mind unwind until no more suppressed data is coming up.

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