Usually, mind is all over the place: pondering the past, anticipating the future, or gripped by a crippling emotion born from desire, aversion, or confusion. The gamut runs from self-recrimination and fear to competitiveness, anger and greed.
Take a moment to pause and gather your scattered mind from everywhere it's gone - from yesterday, tomorrow, your to-do list, a problematic encounter, worries about work, the French Riviera or whatever pulls on you. Bring your mind back home into your self.
Use these three simple methods to settle yourself and your mind.
Body still. Speech silent. Mind at ease.
Turn Your Mind Within
Sit quietly. Take a few gentle breaths. Turn your mind within.
You’ll likely see an abundance of thoughts and emotions, but you can let them pass by like clouds drifting along in a vast, blue sky or a train passing through a station. If you don’t follow after them, thoughts and emotions will naturally dissolve on their own. In time, your mind will gradually settle down.
In the process of settling, you’ll probably get drawn into thoughts or emotions time and again because that’s our habit. So when you notice you're distracted - off again at the French Riviera - just bring your mind back to now.
This back and forth is the heart of mindfulness practice, traditionally known as "calm abiding." That sounds nice, doesn't it? Wouldn't you like your days to be flavored by calm abiding instead of manic a go-go?
That moment of noticing distraction is a moment of clear awareness. So don’t berate yourself for getting lost! In that moment of awareness, you are already back to now. Rest there with a relaxed, yet alert awareness.
Remember, thoughts and emotions are not “you.” You’ll find an unchanging awareness behind the thoughts and emotions. After all, how do you know that you’re thinking or feeling? Rest in that awareness instead of attaching to whatever thoughts and emotions arise.
The aim isn’t to create a static state of peace devoid of thoughts. It’s simply to be gently aware in the present moment without attaching to what visits and departs both within your mind and externally in the environment.
The peace you gain will come from not being disturbed by whatever arises in the mind not by the absence of thought, a temporary state that might occur, but will not last.
Let your mind be at ease as best you can.
Touch Base with Your Heart
Then touch base with your heart.
Are you seeking peace for yourself alone? That’s fine, at first. Often, that’s what initially motivates us to connect with our own mind and heart.
But when you sit still and actually feel your own discomfort, disturbance, and distress, gradually you’ll realize this is how other people feel too. They may appear confident, but chances are their demeanor is nothing more than a house of cards. Inner chaos likely drives their behavior too, usually bringing them more discontent than ease.
As you see and feel this truth - we’re all suffering, but trying to cover it up - slowly your heart softens, your understanding and tolerance unfolds, and a sense of connection arises to every single person alive. You come to know in the deepest recesses of your heart that everyone is another you.
Make a wish that any positive merit which may accrue from your modest practice of sitting quietly may, in some magical way, benefit all beings everywhere - bringing them the highest happiness possible, freedom from suffering, and knowledge of their innermost awareness too.
That is supreme compassion.
Gather Your Mind and Heart to Taste Spaciousness and Ease
When you gather your mind and heart, you’ll begin to taste spaciousness and ease. This may not happen immediately. At first, your mind may resemble a stream crashing over a precipice as it transforms into a mighty waterfall and your heart might feel like waves relentlessly pounding upon rocks at the ocean's shore.
But slowly, if you keep bringing your mind back to the present moment, all the thoughts and emotions will begin to settle in the space of peace. That doesn’t mean thoughts and emotions will never arise, but gradually you’ll feel more distance between you and the risings of mind and thus more capable of letting them go.
You may not be a meditator. In fact, the whole idea of meditation may seem foreign, esoteric, or out of reach. But as soon as you gather your mind and your heart, you’ll have unwittingly begun.
- Gather your mind and heart when you wake in the morning.
- Gather your mind and heart when you feel uncertain, unsure, or confused.
- Gather your mind and heart when the world begins to overwhelm you.
- Gather your mind and heart when someone’s words or actions upset you.
- Gather your mind and heart when you feel happy and joyful, knowing this too shall pass.
- Gather your mind and heart when you get into bed at night.
- Gather you mind and heart in random moments throughout the day and the night.
Whatever you do, wherever you go always ask yourself, "How is my mind and heart?" Slowly, you’ll find peace, spaciousness, and a warm-heart has become your second-nature.
Do you take time during the day to gather yourself? To gather your mind and heart? I would love to hear.
Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious! Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always. With love, Sandra