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Quieting the Mind with Meditation

The heart in Chinese medicine houses the mind. The mind has responsibility for the senses. It has many different and varied functions. Intelligence, thinking, and sleep are some of its many functions. Intelligence needs memory and consciousness -- both foundational functions of the mind. Thinking brings ideas and cognition. Cognition is that combination of sensing, thinking, and taking an action. Sleep is often associated with wisdom and insight.

So why would we want to quiet all of that? Let us look backwards by function. The mind needs rest. With rest comes insight and wisdom. Meditation provides an opportunity for the mind to have a much needed break from the racing nature of life.

The mind thinks associatively and is often called the Monkey mind -- flitting from tree to tree, from idea to idea. A common complaint of pure knowledge for the sake of knowledge is that it gets so wrapped up in itself. It can not see the "forest for the trees" so to speak. Meditation stops the whirlwind review of ideas and associations. The first step in quieting the monkey mind is to not follow the associations. Let the ideas surface and observe them without following. It becomes a safe haven for all thoughts, emotions, and feelings deep within us.

The quiet, conscious moment changes to the now. If one thinks about the past, they are in the past. If one thinks about the future, they are in the future. To be in the now, the mind has to be quieted allowing thought only in the now to be observed. Our consciousness gains back its third dimension. This new dimension has immediate safety and will generate a calm, serene attitude about life over time.

In the first attempts of quieting the mind, be content with breathing for it is the first relief. Focus on the breath and increase its ability to inundate the body with oxygen. Next, be content with energy flow for it is the next focus which relieves the monkey mind. The mind focuses on one emotion at a time much like a flute. By giving the mind something to do like counting and flowing -- we are slowing it down.

The next stage is to embrace all thought with the flow but do not follow it. Return to the role of an observer, accept its thoughts and be there for its delivery. Maintain the flow and the breath.

A serious exercise to help bring out strong emotions or intense thoughts that keep invading and overloading the mind is the wall. The wall is a 20 minute exercise that can be burned or thrown away afterward. Take out a blank piece of paper and write all the thoughts no matter how outrageous. After 20 minutes stop and read them back. They are what they are and now you can let go of them.

Taming the monkey mind takes time and energy. It is not always an easy task. It is the not trying that eventually breaks the pattern. The mind comes to enjoy its moment of rest. The new communication becomes a safe haven for resolving issues. All the emotions can be expressed and released. Imagine a tuning fork of the universe that resonates with the mind. The senses become attuned with the emotions.

Letting go is an important part of being in the now. As the monkey mind is tamed, the now becomes one's life. The past and the future align with the now. The third dimension brings clarity and geography to life. There will be mountains to climb and rivers to explore. Be still as a mountain; move as a great river. The stillness becomes the meditative state. the movement of the river becomes the new path of least resistance forged by a resonating current.

It is not what we attain, let go. It is not what we become, let go. It is what it is, being one with the universe.