The most commonly asked question I get asked in the meditation sessions I host. I completely understand the frustration and the endless capacity that the mind has to chat away like a monkey on uppers. Relentless!!
So the good news is that it is possible. Absolutely! Here is a couple of keys to help develop the capacity to calm the mind into a state of silence.
Step 1: first, connect to what is happening in you right now. Thoughts, feelings ( yes all of them!) , the breath, the body, whether its calm, restless, in pain, warm, cold, relaxed, tense, just notice the whole experience that is you in this moment. Notice how this connecting, observing and feeling is effortless. Most important is to allow the mind to do it’s thing. Just be aware of its chatter.
Connecting with your thoughts doesn’t mean getting involved in the stories. Observe them! A great way to do this is to feel an openness to your mind as a loving parent would to her child. Listen, observe and connect to what the mind is saying. Observe!
The very effort to try and stop the mind will not work. Remember the attitude of Non-judgment from the practice of Presence Blog.
If my mind is chatting away it’s because there is something in me that is asking for attention. It can be many things conscious and unconscious. Either way, it will manifest as a feeling, perhaps a restlessness, an anxiety or a rage. The one thing that all these states have in common is that there is a tension. A feeling of resistance. This resistance, or judgment is a key that is generating unwanted thoughts. It is a way of saying ‘NO’ to what is and insisting that something should be different. It is coming from the ego, the personality, the false ‘I’. This is what needs to be understood.
It’s just looking, as you would a sunset or when you see a room for the first time
Step 2: Give your thoughts space. Just let them be. Observe ( again, but this is the key to change) Just observe, there is nothing else to do. No need to advise, manipulate, console, judge, complain, label just observe what is there. The feeling is relaxed. It’s just looking, as you would a sunset or when you see a room for the first time.
You’ll notice when you get sucked into a story your body will change. It will get tense and your breathing will most likely change. Notice that and relax the grip. There is a division between being present and being hijacked by thinking. The bigger the division the more the tension in the body. Keep checking in to the body and relax, breathe and observe.
And finally, be patient and give it time. See if you can make a commitment to practice for 15 minutes for 21 days. Just close your eyes or rest your gaze on a candle , a flower, your favorite painting, or even the eyes of a friend. Just watch, give space, feel, then rinse and repeat. Stay relaxed and let the power of the observer do its thing.
By simply observing there is a empirical and measurable quantum shift in the nature and behavior of the observed object.