How to stay in touch with yourself
A guest article by Michaela Aue
It is not always easy to listen to your inner voice, especially when the outside is getting louder and louder. And yet, it is becoming more and more important for all of us to strengthen our trust in our connection to ourselves, because this connection has a lot to say to us.
„The most important relationship in your life is the relationship with yourself" – and yet much of our lives is about being in relationships with others. Friends, family, job, hobbies – we have a lot to do! Expectations, obligations and responsibilities in everyday life don't always make it easy for us to keep a balance between our own needs and those we perceive on the outside. No wonder that you often forget the most important person in the process – yourself!
Why staying in touch with yourself is so important
If you are constantly oriented towards the outside, you lose contact with your own self. To that inner voice that lives in all of us. Logical, because the more you look for answers outside of yourself, the more you become dependent on others. You find it difficult to make your own decisions, you feel unbalanced, but you can't quite put your finger on where this feeling comes from, while you are much more concerned with pleasing everyone else, just not yourself! In bad cases, neglecting ourselves can lead to pent-up emotions, stress, exhaustion or even depressive moods.
Our connection to ourselves is the basis for our connection to others! If you cannot accept yourself, you cannot be open in connection with others. On the one hand you will always want to hide a part of yourself from others, and on the other hand you will always look for things in others that actually only you can give yourself – self trust and that you know best what is "right" for you and your life.
How meditation helps you
There are many ways to strengthen this connection to yourself. One of the best known and probably most researched methods is meditation. You are probably aware of the usual benefits of a regular meditation practice. Less stress, more compassion for ourselves and others, increased focus and attention, creativity, better sleep are just the beginning of what meditation can do for you. In addition, studies have shown that meditation improves self-awareness and has a positive effect on emotional intelligence.
For example, there is the so-called Self-Inquiry Meditation. In this type of meditation, you ask yourself the question: "Who am I?" You begin to calm down yourself and your thoughts and come into stillness. In that moment of stillness, you ask yourself, "Who am I?" Imagine that your thoughts are like a lake; when your thoughts are calm, the surface is smooth. The question "Who am I?" then is like a stone that you throw into the water, making small waves. You observe these waves until they have subsided and the lake has a completely smooth surface again. Then you start again.
So this meditation is not so much about getting a final answer to your question – that's not what any form of mediation is about. It's about observing yourself and your thoughts without condemning or judging them. So you learn to bear with yourself and your thoughts and realise that you are not your thoughts! You are you!
A little exercise for you
Just try a little exercise yourself. This exercise can be the beginning of a Self-Inquiry Meditation.
Find a comfortable seat. Make sure your back is straight and upright. Close your eyes and begin to relax your body. Notice tension in your muscles and try to relax them. Take 1-2 minutes to do this.
Start to observe your thoughts. Only pay attention to when your thoughts come and go. Try not to identify with them, hold on to them or even continue to think them.
When a thought comes up, ask yourself these questions: "Who does this thought belong to? Who is thinking this thought?" Do this with every thought that comes up.
After some time you will find that most of your thoughts come from the outside and you don't really have to think those thoughts.
As soon as you realise that you want to analyse your thoughts, take a step back and ask yourself the questions: "Who does this thought belong to? Who is thinking this thought?" That's all you have to do.
You will probably forget these instructions again and again, which is pretty normal. But as soon as you remember them again, just ask yourself the questions again and continue to observe your thoughts.
You can do this meditation for about 10 minutes. It is best to set a timer. Finally, take another deep breath, and then slowly open your eyes.
Regularity for connection
With this type of meditation you practice how to disconnect from your thoughts so that your thoughts do not control you, but you control your thoughts. With regular practice you will notice it becoming easier and easier for you to go into the observation of your thoughts. You will hold on to them less and come into stillness more.
From this place of stillness and inner peace, it will be easy for you to feel the connection to your true self. This connection needs practice, and practice needs regularity. Start with one week and observe what changes. Give yourself these 10 minutes a day; it will be worth it.
Photos: Alicia Minkwitz
Michaela is a mediation teacher from Berlin. Since childhood, she has been obsessed with the search for the meaning of life and the connection to her own self. Michaela's life is filled with learning and sharing spiritual tools and techniques that put you in touch with yourself and support you to overcome challenging situations. In 2020, she founded her monthly meditation course THE art OF BEING YOU.