I discovered how to completely quieten my mind at the beginning of this year. Something that I didn’t think was even possible! And I want to share that story with you.
The breakthrough happened whilst I was lying in bed with so little energy, I couldn’t do my usual routine. I was tired. I just couldn't push myself to work anymore. Two weeks of low energy, feeling lathargic and lacking in motivation. It was frustrating.
Rather than continuing to fight my lack of energy, I gave up and started meditating, listening to some different meditations and even retreats on YouTube. In fact, over the course of the next few days, I essentially did a meditation retreat in bed. Listened to talks by my favourite teacher Ajahn Brahm, and did meditations in between the meditation talks.
What happened next, I was not expecting. I did a meditation and my mind went totally silent. I mean more silent than it’s ever been…it was a bit like walking into a room that’s totally soundproof and feels a bit unusual, but very peaceful. The only time I’d experienced this before was 20 years ago, when I first learnt to meditate.
The feeling of my own body disappeared completely too, and I was met with waves of bliss…although the actual experience is kind of indescribable.
The experience came and went over the next few weeks that followed. And by then my energy had fully returned and I wasn’t meditating so much, so I didn’t keep having the experience.
But I know, whenever I follow this process, I get the same result. Peace of mind. The experience has returned when I meditate over a period of time.
Here’s how I ‘achieved’ this.
I stopped controlling my mind. Rather than following the normal advice of ‘Your mind always wanders. That’s the nature of your mind. Just notice your mind has wandered, and bring it back….a million times’, I followed this advice:
Relax your body with awareness and kindness. Let your body be in any posture it wishes to be. If you fall asleep, that’s fine! You need it. When your mind wanders, let it wander. Just be awake and be kind to your mind. Make friends with your mind. Your mind is wandering for a reason - watch where it goes and welcome it if it decides to come back, which it will. Just let go, be patient and learn to be content with this present moment experience. No more wanting or desires. Just be with this moment exactly as it is.
When I first tried this approach to meditation my mind wandered even more than usual. But I had had enough of controlling. So I let it go. This is an important point for you to remember too. Your mind will wander more at first…but if you’re patient, you’ll find it settles.
After a lot of mind wandering and sleeping, the mind became silent all by itself. Not a controlled silence, but a natural silence. I had stopped controlling my mind. And my mind loved it! In fact, my mind loved it so much, it just blissed out!
So the secret of managing your mind is to stop trying to manage your mind! Just let it be, and it’ll become silent and peaceful all by itself.
Remember, I just let my body and mind do what they want. And greater peace and happiness was the result.
You’re currently like a boss trying to control your staff. The more you micro manage your staff, the less work they get done and the more agitated they get. Instead, step back and let them get on with it. And praise them. And smile at them. And congratulate them.
Do the same with your mind. Don’t micromanage your mind and keep trying to control it and bring it back to focus. Instead, let it be. Be nice to it. Congratulate your mind for just being there for you. If your mind wants to think about that worry, let it worry. It’ll soon get bored of it, and want to hang out with you and meditate before you know it. You just need to trust this process. Trust kindness. Treat your mind just like you’d treat a lovely friend.
So, here’s three steps you can take to stop thinking so much:
- Let your body be as comfortable as possible and see what happens. Don’t control your body. Remember how I let my body be in whatever position it wanted to be? Try the same.
- Treat your mind like a lovely friend. Say 'mind, what do you want to do now?' I did that rather than trying to control my mind. My mind wanted to sleep and wander off. So I let it. Eventually the mind became very still. Effortlessly.
- Cultivate contentment right now. I didn’t try to still my mind. Instead I let it go and stopped trying to control. Then, with time, it calmed down all by itself. Be content with the way things are with your busy, crazy, agitated mind. Your poor mind is tired and stressed. Let it be.
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