Of all the questions I am asked the most about meditation, the one that comes up time and time again is something like “How do I stop thinking during meditation?”
Matt Young of the Melbourne Meditation Centre recently posted an excellent article answering this question beautifully. His solution is don’t.
For someone like me, who defaults to an extremely active mind this article was gold.
Here’s a couple of his reasons:
The brain’s job is to think. Just like it is the ear’s job to hear. Better to work with the mind than against it’s very nature.
The Pink Elephant Effect. Ever been asked by someone to not think of a pink elephant. What was the first thing you did? Yep – you thought of a pink elephant. Turns out a researcher who is now based at Hale proved that trying not to think about something pretty much guarantees you will.
Absence of Thought does not equal peace of mind.
Here’s how Matt explains this idea:
I’ve certainly found that the degree of peace I find within meditation is directly proportional to the degree to which I am willing to entertain those thoughts and feelings that I might otherwise choose to suppress or ignore. When I allow myself the time to mull over, process and integrate them I find that peaceful states of mind arise quite naturally, effortlessly and spontaneously. On the other hand, when I force my mind to be quiet, the resultant sense of peace seems relatively fragile and brittle.
So there you go. Maybe it is time that we stopped waging a war with thoughts during meditation and started welcoming them in as we search for a little more peace on this journey.
Many of our subscribers already know how Mydiamonddays came to be created.
Here’s the full story but if your in a rush here’s the summary.
One day in the midst of an insanely stressful and busy time in my life (3 young kids, renovating, book deadline, job) I arrived at my son’s kindy and couldn’t remember his name. Or what school his brother was at. Nice huh?
After every test known to man, it turned out there was nothing physically wrong with me – just too much on and an inability to relax.
So I started to meditate.
And I loved it – and I wanted to share it – hence the birth of mydiamonddays.
And lately I’ve found another de-stressing tool that is working brilliantly. Running.
There’s something about it that works at releasing my body’s “flight or fight” mechanisms. After a run, I am calmer, happier and….you guessed it…much more likely to settle into one of those gorgeous meditations that help me melt all the way to my toes.
So, if you are a runner, meditator or both or neither but want to me we’ve created a gorgeous thing specially for you.
Okay so today I slept in and my newly minted morning routine went out the window. No run. No meditation. No time. Kinda grumpy all day (not helped by 40 degree heat) so was a frazzled little ball by the time I got to my evening meditation. I chose the second mindfulness meditation from Manish Singh. How can 5 minutes of “breath coming in , breath going out help so much?” I don’t know but it did. Happier and cooler. Miraculously a breeze began at the same time….
Grab yourself some headphones and try this gorgeous meditation. Especially if you are feeling cranky, bummed and as if you might yell at the next person who walks by….
Seriously, how is it so comforting to just focus on the breath. Or on the feel of wind on your skin….
I even went so far as to focus on the warm water as I washed up after dinner shortly after. Mindfulness can be everywhere so they say…..
How’s this for a confession? I haven’t been meditating.
Me who believes deeply that it is one of the simplest, healthiest and wisest things that a human being can do.
I fell off the wagon several months ago and haven’t quite been able to drag myself back. Too busy, too tired, too uninspired.
With the fresh new year nearly upon us with its powdery snow-like promise, I’m getting back on the wagon.
I am going to meditate every. single. day of 2014 using the beautiful meditations from my site. I’m going to try ‘em all and see what happens along the journey.
And to get an extra jump, I started today.
So here’s today. Day 1.
I had a slight headache from too much champagne last night so didn’t get it together to meditate this morning.
Kids around so finally, in desperation, I did it at 5.30 pm. Sounds of the movie the kids were watching (Bedtime stories) resonating through the walls.)
For today, I used this simple timer and followed the directions from Paul Wilson out of his gorgeous book Calm.
Here’s what I did.
Once the meditation started I counted one on the in breath and two on the out breath. I kept that count going until I reached 10 and then I started again.
It took several minutes for my mind to settle but once it did, it was lovely