Most of us (hopefully) have a daily practice of cleaning our teeth, bathing our bodies and eliminating wastes. Part of life is cleaning out the old to make way for the new. Just as a garden needs to be routinely weeded to allow the flowers to grow unfettered, the clutter that can accumulate in our minds must also be cleared out.
Throughout our daily lives our minds can gather “dust” that can obscure our mental vision and make it a challenge to see the world clearly. There are many different ways to “dust” out the distortions that if allowed to persist, can further perpetuate our suffering.
Meditation is one form of cleaning the mind. Many believe that meditation is a still mind. While meditation can induce a greater sense of stillness, it is the mind’s work to continually move and process, much like it is the heart’s job to beat and pump blood. There may be times when the heart races, other times when it is slow and steady. Just as the heart beats, the mind moves. Trying to stop the mind is like trying to stop your heart.
Meditation is the practice of allowing the mind to move, without attaching to the thoughts that it generates. I’ve heard several analogies for ways to allow without attaching, find the ones that work best for you. One is to imagine your thoughts as clouds moving across the sky of your mind. Another could be watching water moving along a river.
It can be a challenge to sit without wanting to push, if that is your tendency. Be aware of this tendency, be present with it. What we resist persists, so it is by allowing this tendency to push on without attaching to it is one of the keys to success.
Another important key to meditation is finding a point of focus. Choose a mental focal point to bring your attention back to when you begin to travel with your wandering mind, this can help you to remain more focused. You may find at first that you feel that you are constantly bringing your attention back over and over again. Be patient with yourself as much as you can, just as with any skill in life (walking, talking, eating, typing, etc), the more we practice the better we become at that skill.
When I first began to meditate, I found guided meditations to be the most helpful. Later, I read the book Your Auras & Your Chakras: The Owner’s Manual by Karen McLaren. This book helped me to make meditation a daily practice, something that I believe helped to save my life.
Without this daily practice of meditation of nearly two years, I do believe I would have simply gone completely insane. This practice has been my saving grace during the separation and pending divorce from my husband of nearly 16 years. Through the thick of it, meditation helped me to come more into touch with my feelings through the toughest transition I have ever made in my life. I am so grateful for my practice, as I can now see more clearly.
By giving ourselves the gift of presence, we can clear the mental clutter and to more clearly see and experience life, with more grace and happiness in our hearts.
Photo Courtesy of sippakorn at Freedigitalphotos.net