How to quiet the mind – I have to tell you this is a great unfortunate roadblock for many seeking to establish a meditation practice. A person sits down and tries to meditate only to become frustrated quickly because they can not quiet the mind – they are having too many thoughts. Sound familiar?
If you don’t have an experience of or the ability to choose for a quiet mind, that would be normal. While it is possible to attain this level of skill, you aren’t going to start there. You also won’t stay there once it does come upon you. Notice I said, “come upon you”? You can’t force your way into a quiet mind. You aren’t going to get very far nor will you want to keep exploring meditation if you take the approach of wrangling thoughts to quiet the mind.
Yet, you can discover how to quiet the mind – or how the mind quiets, by practicing meditation.
Here are some tips…
Truly be open to the fact that thoughts don’t matter and are not a sign of failure.
Your focus is not on thoughts, but on the meditative tool.
Your meditative tool should be very effective at opening spaciousness in your mind (aka quieting the mind).
You should be excited about any degree of quieting that is taking place.
Don’t waste a moment on judging your experience once thinking returns – expect it will do so – and decide now that you will not allow yourself to feel or believe that you have done something wrong and are failing or that meditation isn’t work – both are grossly wrong.
When you notice thinking occurring, come back with relaxed body, alert mind to your meditative tool and keep going.
More important than when you are sitting in meditation, notice what life is like with eyes open after meditation.
Notice with eyes open if there is more spaciousness in you – if you feel more connected, grounded, alert, present, better able to meet challenges or even basic tasks – and notice how that may be a direct result of what you just opened up within you as a result of meditation. You are able to experience these things because of the spaciousness. Even if you can not see this now (and it took me a lot of direction from my own teacher pointing it out) this greater ease in life is a direct result of practice which has given you a quieter mind.
Don’t take my word for these things, but do go explore and please comment to let me know how it’s going or any questions, celebrations or revelations you are having in your practice.
Lastly – HAVE FUN with this. Be devoted and consistent but also playful and curious. Enjoy it!