Let’s begin by dispelling a simple myth: meditation is not about turning off your mind.
Have you ever tried to consciously turn off your mind?
If so, you may have noticed that this practice could never work. In fact, it is in the nature of our mind to wander.
You can think of your mind as a little, lively monkey who cannot find any place to settle down, but it needs to jump up and down, at any time, and without control.
It does sound disturbing, doesn’t it?
Well, that is the truth and we have all experienced such kind of behavior during our daily and conscious life.
Letting the mind simply play its own game without being aware of it, leads to a few consequences:
- Time spent unconsciously
- Lack of any discipline
A natural reaction to “fight” against your own rebel mind, is to force a full control upon it. It is a common action put in place by believing our mind to be the enemy that does not make us enjoy peacefully our daily life.
And what do you do to stop your enemy? You may purchase a pair of handcuffs and keep it hidden in a secret room, without telling anyone.
Is that what you want? It may be.
However, this is not what you really need to stop worrying, to acquire discipline or finally be aware of the present.
Watch this video:
Our mind is not the enemy. Think of a typical day when we run around all the time and our mind jumps from one topic to another like a crazy monkey surrounded by various fruits and nuts. You may feel so overwhelmed to find yourself shouting some like, “Stop, just stay still!”. Let me tell you that this is not gonna work.
Have you ever tried to shout to a crazy monkey?
Most probably, the direct effect would be just to freak out the monkey even more.
What to do, now?
The main purpose of your meditation practice is to become aware of it, accept it and observe what is triggered by your mind. When you become aware of your thoughts, you are eventually able to bring back your attention to the present moment and simply let it go of your thoughts.
Many types of meditation are not about getting rid of your thoughts but instead establishing a positive relationship with them.
“What is happening in your liver and kidneys is a lot more complex than the thoughts that you generate. If the activity of your organs does not disturb you, why do your thoughts disturb you? Because you think you are your thoughts. When you think, you don’t see it as “my thoughts” – you say, “I think so.” Because you are deeply identified with your thought process, it is bothering you. You are not identified with your kidneys unless you have a kidney problem. If they function normally, most people do not even feel if they have kidneys or not. Kidneys are a device – they are functioning so efficiently we can forget about them”
Let’s try right now this simple meditation practice to become aware of your thoughts and start acquiring a positive attitude:
1. Begin by getting comfortable in a seated position
2. Take three long deep breaths
3. Begin to feel your body in here, your entire body
4. If your mind starts to wander, just observe it with awareness and come back to the present moment
5. Now move your attention to all the sounds around you
6. Again, when your thoughts come up just notice them and come back to the present moment
This is the practice: notice your thoughts and come back to the present moment.
7. Breath in, breath out and gently open your eyes.