At some point during their meditative journey, almost everyone encounters the dreaded “mind.” And, even before they ever start meditating, most people are cautioned, warned, or instructed to “clear your mind.”
It took me almost 15 years to finally figure out that meditating has nothing to do with trying to “clear your mind.”
Unfortunately, most newcomers are still being advised/instructed/told to clear their mind, or quiet the mental noise, in order to be able to meditate successfully.
The truly unfortunate part is, even most of the long-time meditation practitioners out there – who have been practicing for a decade or two – are still trying to “clear their mind”…without much success. (This includes many of the instructors, too!)
Most people, including many instructors and teachers, end up turning the mind into an enemy that they have to fight against, resist, or try to shut down. That is the exact opposite of what you should be doing.
Yes, I am aware that (earlier in this very report,) I myself stated the purpose of meditation to be about “cutting down on the mental noise and inner dialogue” so you can access that deeper place inside yourself.
However, your primary focus should not be to “clear your mind” because doing so is almost impossible, especially if you focus directly on that task. Of course, if you are able to quiet your mind, that’s wonderful. But, don’t waste your time on trying to do that.
The mind is such a thing that the more you try to quiet it, the more you try to resist its thoughts, the more prevalent and persistent it gets.
Besides, meditation is not about fighting, resisting, or even “trying” to do anything. Your only job during meditation is to observe. Without the need to judge, label, analyze, or change anything.
When you let go of the need (or desire) to judge, label or analyze, a good amount of mental noise and ego simply dissolves. Not all of it goes away, mind you. A good amount of mind chatter and inner dialogue still remains. And, in the next section, I’ll show you how to masterfully handle that situation.
But, What About the Mental Noise?
In this section, I am going to reveal the most powerful secret, and a few cool tricks, that can help
you become a master-level meditation expert in the shortest amount of time possible.
Of course, the purpose is not to “get” it sooner than others, nor is it to brag about being an expert to others. It is simply about being able to start enjoying the amazing benefits of meditation as soon as possible.
At any rate, let’s talk about how to handle one of the most common challenges that every beginner meditator – and even most veteran meditators – have to deal with.
Almost immediately after you start meditating, you will find your mind beginning to wander off.
Certain thoughts will arise, and before you realize it, you will be lost in thought. Sometimes, you may catch yourself quickly. And, other times, 30 minutes or more may pass before you realize that you have been thinking about everything on the planet…except for the one thing you should be…which is to meditate, i.e. to simply observe.
So, how do you stop the mind from wandering? How do you stop the endless thought stream that comes flooding in, the moment you close your eyes and try to be still?
The big secret is to start observing your thoughts as well! Yes, it’s as simple as that. The concept of observing your own thoughts may seem a bit weird at first, but it’s actually quite simple…and brilliant.
So…instead of trying to not think about anything…or to clear your mind…or to resist or fight your mind, you can actually start to watch your thoughts.
You see, most of us are so caught up in our thoughts all the time, we start thinking and believing that we are our thoughts. And, many of us also believe that we are our minds. That we and our mind are one.
But that is not the case. You are not your mind, and you are certainly not your thoughts. You are the awareness underneath your mind and your thoughts.
And, when you start to really become aware of the fact that you are the awareness itself, instead of the mind, that is the beginning of the powerful and all-important separation between you and your mind.
That is the beginning of freedom from your mind, and from being lost in thought all the time. Our lives are run by our thoughts and our mind. The mind just does not shut up. It is always questioning, analyzing, tearing apart, labeling, and of course judging everything!
And, we as humans have started to believe that it’s a good thing! We pride ourselves in how quickly our minds can analyze, label and judge things, situations, and especially other people.
Many of us have even made successful careers out of judging everything and everyone.
It’s sad really. Because the more we label, analyze and judge, the more we separate and isolate ourselves from everything and everyone around us.
Wars between nations are started this way.
But, our planet is starting to awaken. Our species is also slowly waking up. And, that’s one of the reasons meditation is so important.
So, how do we observe our mind and our thoughts?
We don’t do it by fighting or resisting it. We do it by allowing it to be. We give up the need to change what the mind is doing, which is what it always does: think thoughts.
And, by allowing our mind to do what it loves to do, and by simply observing each new thought as it comes into our mind, we take their power away. Because what you resist will only persist.
So, by allowing each new thought to come floating in freely, and simply observing what that thought is, we get out of it’s way so that it can continue floating out and away, just as easily as it came in.
It’s so simple that it hurts!
As soon as you see a new thought pop into your mind, you could get the feeling of… “Ah, there’s another thought. And, this one is about the bills I have to pay. Okay, I will let this thought be, without interfering with it, and just observe. Let’s see what’s next…”
Of course, you won’t be saying those words nor thinking those words specifically. But, that is what your feeling and sense will be as you observe each new thought float in.
Simply observe and let it be. Don’t judge, don’t analyze, and definitely don’t resist. Just watch each thought float away just as easily as it came in. As you start to do this, you will keep taking your mind’s power away because you won’t be resisting it anymore. (The more you resist and fight it, the more power it gets.) And as you continue to do this, while you’re meditating, you will notice fewer and fewer thoughts coming in.
And, very soon after, you will get to that deeper space of quiet… calm… stillness. That’s where magic happens.
But remember, don’t try to go there. Don’t hope to go there. And, definitely don’t expect to go there. Those are all ways to guarantee that you’ll never get there.
So, don’t worry about whether you’ll get there on the first try, or even the 10th try. Wanting to get there will only cloud the path.
The only way to get there is to just be…and observe anything (or nothing) as it unfolds during your meditative practice.
And, the more you do that, the more you practice just observing and just being, the more stillness you will experience…and the deeper you will go.
But, even during all of these deeper states, remember to not do anything. Don’t become anxious, don’t even start looking for or trying to define/label the stillness. That will only activate your mind again. And the thoughts will start coming all over again.
Remember to just be. Just enjoy what is.
Don’t expect anything…and you will get to see everything (which is nothing, i.e. the stillness.) Simply by allowing it to be. Practice entering this space of stillness often. Spend as much time as you can in there. And,
enjoy all the wonderful benefits it will continue to provide you with.