This article is an accompaniment to the latest series of guided meditations to come out today – entitled ‘Letting Go of the Mental Chatter’. There are links to these meditations at the foot of this article.
It seems a common preconception about meditation is that you need to ‘stop thinking.’
When I lead beginners meditation classes often people say at the end.
“Oh, I found it so difficult to switch off”
” I couldn’t stop thinking”
” I can’t do it – I can’t stop the thoughts
My response is ‘you don’t need to.’
In our society which has everything available in an instant – we want to switch off in an instant.
‘I want to be entertained immediately and then when I am tired of all the thoughts in my head I want to switch off from them instantly – if I can’t then I am not going to bother and find something else.’
The function of the meditations I have learnt and teach to others is not to switch off thoughts completely and become like stones! Its to transform the mind: from agitated to peaceful, from negative to positive.
For the mind to become peaceful we do not need to stop thinking, we simply need to let go of the agitated states of mind and start thinking in ways that produce peace.
This process is two-fold.
We begin to let go of agitated states of mind by engaging in a simple, visualization where we imagine all our distractions in the aspect of dark smoke in the centre of our body and we breathe these out, observing them disappear as we focus on the breath. This is a great start and this meditation is guided through following the links below.
Once the mind is semi-peaceful through filtering out the distractions in the aspect of dark smoke then we can work to transform the mind into a peaceful, positive state.
It vitally important to appreciate that meditation is not about ‘not thinking.’
If we follow meditations that have this effect on our mind then our experience will become dull and lifeless.
Also meditation practice will become boring. If we don’t see the results of not thinking coming into our mind then we will soon give up and take up something else.
The meditations below will start you off on the path to transforming your mind – next week series ‘A Holy Mind’ will look at how we can actually transform the mind once we have pacified it through following the below meditations.
Access the meditations here:
Thanks for the beautiful picture taken by the talented James Lee