The ability to quiet your mind is an essential life skill in this modern era of stress, overwhelm and distraction, and cultivating this skill through things like meditation is so important for a joyful and fulfilling life.
Because our mind is the source of stress, anxiety, frustration or overwhelm. It’s constantly reacting to people, events, news and to our own thoughts, creating a vicious cycle that goes on and on… and on… and on!
Lau Tzu said: “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
Meaning if you don’t change you will end up with more thoughts, emotions and dramas filling your mind making you more and more stressed and disconnected from yourself and the people you care about.
Our ordinary thinking mind can take on a life of its own… and in doing so it owns us… we become a victim to the turbulent fluctuations of our emotions and reactions.
Does this sound familiar?
Do you ever wonder, where your heart is in all this? Where is the source of your joy?
It’s in the back seat!… Not driving!
So how do we get our heart into the driver’s seat?
We learn to quiet our mind.
As long as the mind is noisy and chaotic it will always be running our life.
Does this mean our mind has to be completely silent to start leading from our heart?
Understanding a Quiet Mind
There’s a gradient of quietening. The quieter we become the more our heart shows itself… and the beauty here is that it doesn’t take that much quietening before we feel a tangible effect… A softening and relief from the usual internal noise pollution and stress.
This doesn’t mean we don’t have to do anything! It won’t happen by itself. It does require some effort, but the point is that it doesn’t have to be perfect… and this is important to understand when it comes to the practice of meditation.
Meditation is one of the most effective and rewarding ways to learn the skill of quietening your mind.
Unfortunately, I’ve met so many people who started meditating because they knew they needed it, but gave up too quickly because they had unrealistic expectations of what was “supposed” to happen… so when their experiences didn’t match their expectations they dropped it, thinking things like: “I’m no good at this”, “This doesn’t work”, “This is too hard”, “Am I doing this right?”, or simply “This was not what I expected.”
In these cases, most of the time, they were trying to do it on their own. They had no one with experience helping to guide them and give them a deeper understanding of the experiences they were having.
This is very unfortunate!
Imagine a infant learning to walk. What if they just gave up because they thought they were no good at it, it was too hard, or it wasn’t like they expected?
It’s hard to imagine, right?
Infants are not burdened by preconceived expectations or thinking in general. They just do it… and if they can’t, well, they just keep going until they can. Of course, there’s usually plenty of love and support from the excited parents, but the child just does it because there is an inner impulse to move… They’ve answered the call to become vertical.
Your Approach to Meditation
What if you’re approach to meditation and learning quiet your mind was like the child learning to walk?
What if you simply continued to follow this impulse into yourself, this gentle movement towards the quiet stillness of your heart… and if you struggle and fall into thoughts and emotions, you just keep coming back… and coming back… and coming back, to this gentle movement inward.
Then at some point you realize, you’re quieter than you used to be, your mind is not as noisy as it once was, you’re less stressed, and you’re not reacting to the people or situations that used to trigger you… You feel more alive, peaceful and more connected to your family and friends.
You’ve answered the call of your heart.
It sounds nice, right?
There is no “What if”!
This is the approach of meditation. This is the way.
A consistent movement towards your center.
Let go of preconceived ideas and expectations and follow the call of your heart…