Last week I wrote about the importance of moving our bodies. Now I’m thinking the same goes for our minds. And maybe that’s why I’ve failed miserably at meditation.
I’ve had meditation envy for years. I’ve read quite a bit about it and talked to people that meditate regularly and it has always appealed to me. I have a tendency to think way too much, to think about way too many things at one time; so much so that I can’t remember any of them! Unless of course I’m trying to go to sleep at night. That is when I’m able to suddenly remember everything, everything that I need to do, everything that is worrying me, everything that needs thinking about. Bad timing, I know.
So meditation - the ability to take a real time out, to still the mind and thus nurture the soul - sounds really good to me. And I’ve tried to do it, I really have. I’ve made commitments to myself time and again; that I am going to do it for 21 days straight, as they say that’s how long it takes to create a new habit; that I’m going to start with 1 minute (anyone can do it for a minute, right?) and then add another minute each night. But I’ve always been left dumbfounded. There is just no way that I can stop thinking. I’ve tried to not think as I meditate and I end up just thinking about not thinking. I’ve tried focusing on my breath but my mind wanders. I’ve tried repeating the same word over & over again and yup, my mind wanders. The only time my mind doesn’t wander is if I end up falling asleep, and then I’m not meditating… I’m sleeping!
Well, maybe I’ve been going about it all wrong. Our minds, after all, are apart of our body. Our brain is a muscle. So maybe our minds have to constantly move like everything else. Maybe meditation is not about stilling the mind. Maybe it’s literally impossible not to think. If you think about it (ha!), even when we’re asleep our brains are active...with dreams and healing and simply keeping our bodies functioning as we rest. I’ve heard we process our day as we sleep. We integrate all we’ve learned and experienced. It must be where the expressions ‘sleep on it’ and ‘things will look better in the morning’ come from.
Maybe instead of stilling the mind, meditation is about calming the mind. Maybe rather than thinking about not thinking, we should let thoughts flow - let them come, acknowledge them, and then let them go. I think this would be more useful, no? This we could carry on in our day to day lives. When I have negative thoughts at work, at home, driving, in the line up at the grocery store; rather than trying to ignore or fight the thoughts I could let them come, acknowledge them and then let them go. Sounds like a better way to fall asleep too!
Maybe inner peace isn’t about total peace. Maybe it’s about being at peace with our thoughts. At peace with our lives.
Take care of you.