For some of our Sisters the thought of MEDITATION is rest, relax, and “ahhhhh”. For others it’s one more thing to fit in like flossing and getting in 10,000 steps. Often they have good intentions but for some reason they just can’t find a space to fit it in their lives. Things like, “I don’t have time”, and “My mind is too busy” start the conversation. Here’s what we know. When there is something that any of us say we really, really want to do...and we just don’t...there is RESISTANCE that is beyond time or abilities.
The most popular resistance of all, regardless of the topic, is FEAR. What could any of us be afraid of when we are talking about sitting alone, being quiet? How much easier can you get than doing... nothing? Know that meditation is not doing “nothing” but it also isn’t emptying your mind. Our mind is full of information that we have worked hard to collect. Some is useful (like the password to your facebook account). Some is useless like Lucille Ball’s maiden name in I Love Lucy (McGillicuddy by the way). Some of this information is true and some is ridiculous but it’s all piled high in your brain like a plate of spaghetti. So why would we be afraid of letting go of such a wad of information overload?
Because inside our heads is a tangled ball of Christmas lights that we refer to as our mind. That mind puts those thoughts in organized chaos. IT’S A MESS BUT IT’S OUR MESS. Any hint of quieting that screaming whisper of assumed reality creates fear. What are we afraid of? How could letting go of our busy minds make us afraid? Our mind tells us:
“I am what has created your life!”
“I am what has kept you safe!”
“I am who YOU are!”
If this were true, we would be crazy to quiet the source of all the good stuff in our life.
We hope you will trust us when we tell you, “YOU ARE NOT YOUR MIND!” There have been 1000’s of books written on the subject but we will just give you one little tidbit to chew on. That part of you that says, “Stop over thinking this!” is YOU. 3:00 a.m....can’t sleep...can’t stop thinking? The part that exclaims, “Will you shut up and go to sleep!” …...is YOU. It is the YOU talking to the busy mind that tricks you into believing all that mental noise is who you really are.
This busyness in your mind will argue both sides of any topic. It doesn’t care what it says as long as it gets to talk. It uses every piece of information it can gather from your database to stand for you and against you all at the same time. Forget gray. Everything is equally black and equally white. Again, this pile of mental spaghetti doesn’t care which side you want to argue. It will work either side. It will keep your stomach in knots and keep you awake for as long as you will listen.
Because your busy mind has been so convincing, it sends a second burst of information. This one based in fear. Our mind says:
“Ok, maybe I’m not the real YOU but I am your guidance system.”
“Thinking has gotten you this far.”
“Thinking has kept you safe.”
“Thinking keeps bad stuff from happening to you.”
“If you can think about it enough, you can keep control of it.” (IT being your life.)
This is another lie that our mind tells us. We believe that if we relax, rest or meditate something terrible will happen if we aren’t keeping watch. “I CAN’T RELAX. STRESS IS HOLDING ME TOGETHER!” is the Western woman’s mantra. It’s like a movie. We are the watchmen keeping an eye on the city. If we fall asleep King Kong will show up and destroy New York. We are afraid that it will all go to hell in a handkerchief if we aren’t keeping an eye on everything. If we can think about it, we can keep the bad stuff from happening.
Some people believe that if they focus and quiet their mind they will miss important cues, lose their edge and forget their Mother’s birthday. They fear that in becoming “thought-less” if only for a few minutes, they will become mindless”. They believe the mind gives information that allows them to make successful choices and keeps them from doing something dumb or reckless. Why would you quiet that? Who will watch the store if your mind is “resting”?
Our mind is not the enemy. It isn’t YOU but it is a wonderful tool, a fabulous computer like nothing Apple can touch. In a fraction of a second we can gather the info we need to do...anything. Resting this tool doesn’t make it not work right. Resting your mind will help it to be sharper, faster, supersized.
Have you ever watched a movie on a plane? Everyone puts on headphones and moves into their own little fantasy land. However, if the pilot has something to tell you like “I’ve turned on the seatbelt sign” or “Look kids, the Grand Canyon” his voice interrupts your movie. He says what he needs to say and the then the soundtrack of your movie comes back. Because you are already quiet and sitting with your headphones on, you hear the pilot more clearly than if you were talking with your friend beside you.
This is how meditation works. If there is something that you truly need to know for your safety and well being...it will come through more clear and accurate. You won’t lose your edge. You won’t lose your quick response. You won’t lose your access to the database of your life. If anything you will be able to react faster because the tangles of wires are smoothed out, soothed and healed. Your mind doesn’t want you to know that when you are quiet and still YOU are better, clearer, more alert. You can easily hear someone yell, “FIRE!” However, not so quick to respond when your mind yells, “SQUIRREL!” As bumper sticker as it sounds, you get control by letting go.
If you aren’t ready to sit in a quiet room by yourself, but are still curious about meditation, try this quick experiment. On your drive to work tomorrow think only about what is going on in the moment. Keep your mind focused on what you see through the windshield, what the car feels like as you sit in it, what your body feels like as you drive. Nothing else, no narration. It will take a few tries, but the point is to take action. Now notice how your day goes. If you are like most people, your day may not go smoother but YOU will go smoother, less anxious, less stressed, less tired. You might notice the scary stories in your narration of your life calm down. You might notice that you can breathe a little deeper. You might notice….YOU REALLY AREN’T YOUR MIND.