The Sound of Silence or ‘I Can’t Stop Thinking!’

Posted by Jane H.T. Can't meditate

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When starting their meditation practice, many people say that the main difficulty is to ‘quieten their mind’ and that they get literally ‘bombarded’ with thoughts. Have you experienced this as well?

I’ll tell you a secret… What happens is the mind’s natural reaction to your efforts to tame it. It’s simply not used to being controlled in any way and starts ‘panicking’ that something unusual is going on. It then starts firing thoughts at you as it would do when surprised or puzzled by any other thing.

Luckily, there is a way to deal with it successfully. First of all – prepare. Start your meditation with a firm intention that you are NOT interested in any kind of thoughts for the next 10 or 15 minutes. When this intention becomes very clear, you can begin your meditation.

Start with directing your attention to your breathing.

Remember that during the whole time of your meditation, your attention should be following the flow of air in your body and nothing else. If you find your mind wandering, don’t give it any emotional response (it’s important), but simply turn your attention back to where it should be. Never try to supress thoughts, because they will become stronger is you do it. The most effective way of getting rid of them is to ‘look away’ and refuse to pay any attention. As you keep focusing on your task, those intrusive thoughts will naturally dissipate with a bit or practice.

You may also find that music containing binaural beats helps you concentrate, but this is very personal. Playing music in the background is generally a good idea; you just need to find something that resonates with you personally. It doesn’t have to be the traditional ‘meditation music’ – not everyone finds it relaxing. Instead, you can listen to any instrumental track you like, classical or otherwise, as long as it doesn’t have lyrics or strong memories associated with it.

An important tip: simply counting your breaths or noticing them could be rather challenging for a beginner. Start from a more accessible step – make your attention follow your breath as it enters through your nose, and then visualize how the air is filling your entire body. When exhaling, follow the same process in reverse, i.e. imagine how the used air is being drawn out of every part of our body and expelled through your nose or your mouth. You will find this much easier (and more interesting) than counting the breaths. While ‘observing’ in your mind’s eye how the air is filling your body, you can also look out for any tense or sore areas and mentally send ‘more air’ to those places. You may be surprised to know that this simple technique will actually make you feel better and more energised. By the way – don’t take my word for it. Just try and see it for yourself.

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