A friend of mine from Unity told me recently that he is never able to quiet his mind. One of the problems that this is creating for him is that he feels completely unable to meditate. I felt a lot of empathy for him because it seemed that he felt like he should be able to quiet his mind, and wanted to, but for reasons unknown to him just didn’t have the ability to.
His feeling that he lacks something that is intrinsic to all of us as part of our spiritual nature moved me to jump in and suggest another possibility. And his comments prompted me to think more about the idea of the importance of quieting the mind.
I agree that it can be difficult to hear the quiet voice of spirit within when our minds are busy with life’s many details. And I do believe that we are better able to live from our highest and most conscious intentions when we take the time to slow down and detach from the world on a regular basis so that we can access our own deep truth.
But the reality is that minds like to be busy. Our busy minds are the things that create our individual experience and expression, and that provide our humanness. And through our humanness we uniquely express God within. Our minds are a powerful and sacred tool in God’s expression.
I know there are those very special people who have practiced long enough that they can spend long amounts of time with a completely empty mind. But what about the rest of us seekers who are doing our best to find the divinity in all of our experience, including the noisy mind that defies taming?
I have found in my own meditation practice that it’s not the level of emptiness of mind that matters but just that I’m paying attention to what’s moving through. At times my mind has been so busy that successful meditation was setting a timer so that I could make myself just sit quietly for a prescribed amount of time. That doesn’t happen much anymore, though, because I’ve learned a little better to not fight what’s happening when I meditate.
Just stopping to notice the mind’s activity is a meditation. When we can notice and acknowledge a thought it loses its hold and we can let it go. In unconsciousness our thoughts spin unchecked and we feel unable to quiet the mind’s din. And what we resist we give energy to, so fighting the mind’s noise just makes it noisier.
But when we allow our meditation to be an opportunity to just sit with ourselves and be with ourselves, in awareness of what is real for us in that moment, the mind will often quiet on its own, without any effort needed. (Or not, depending on the day, but even that is a meditation as we learn to watch the noise and see it for what it is, thoughts passing by that we can choose to attend to or not.) We gain mastery by watching the mind’s pandemonium, and seeing our thoughts for the fleeting things that they are.
So take regular time to be the watcher of your own divine mind, and honor its role in helping you define what you will hold as true, and what you will allow to move past you.
May this tool be a blessing. . .