My students often ask “I can’t still my mind during meditation class. What should I do?”
“It’s what you should NOT do, is more like a solution.” I say.
Trying to stop thoughts coming into our meditation practice is counterproductive. For the mind, we notice what we are resisting, is persisting.
It is the mind’s nature to generate random thoughts when not being called upon to solve problems. The mind is always thinking- awake and asleep in dreams. Trying to go against this natural process of mind is like forcing a needle into a computer hard drive.
This conflicting want or need for quiet, when mind wants to continue, invites tension . Unrelieved tension causes stress. What NOT do do?
Best approach is to let the mind run free, no controlling.
“What?” you ask. “The mind will run away, or scatter or explode!”, but that is not the case. Such fears come from the “little voice within” – our ego. As you can hear on my Podcast, the ego is a construct. (Link to my Spotify here).
Our mind is a natural organ that like water, seeks it’s own “level” of balance. The mind and body tend toward good health when not interfered with. And within balanced mind, in subconscious, is “authentic self”- who you really are, without all the constructed “should” statements, drama, competition and self judgements of your ego.
Authentic self was born within you at the moment of your creation. Authentic self cannot leave you. Authentic self is not in conflict with anything. Simply silencing ego opens a portal to authentic self, which can then be invited to manifest in silence and stillness to evolve, manifest, decay and evolve again. So it is not a question of doing during meditation, it becomes an exercise of letting go while noticing the gaps between the thoughts where there is no ego.
In fact, you cannot be acting from the ego and the authentic self at the same time. If we allow mind total freedom, to see the intervals between thoughts, that is not “nothing” in the intervals – they are authentic self moments forming, arising, decaying, reforming in beautiful cycles.
If we are simply an observer to our thoughts when engaged in meditation that is enough. This witnessing triumphs over ego long enough to allow the gaps between thoughts to become a route toward authentic self.
Can we agree to look with deep reverence and love to the sudden jumps mind makes, the dreams our mind conjures, awake and asleep, the memories it stores? This observing with reverence is the antidote to trying or seeking enlightenment. It is the only path to enlightenment