Those of you living in the Northern Hemisphere will by now be really noticing the evenings drawing in, daylight hours getting shorter, the temperature falling, night-time frosts, morning mists, the leaves turning golden brown and falling too. This is a time when nature starts to draw within and close down while it regenerates itself. It’s very good time to meditate. But we humans tear around in a great hurry, being very busy. So let’s give some time to quietening the mind and going within.
At one time this blog had “meditations” in the title and you might have wondered what meditation actually had to do with it since much of it seems to be about thinking. Yet for me one beauty of meditation is that it is a time when I can notice my mental activity as a witness and not be attached to it, as I allow myself to centre myself in a state of inner calmness. While I have a clear spiritual objective in my meditations, I am very aware that I am also managing my mind. And I do have a very busy mind – bit like all those busy people. Meditation is a way of reminding me that there is more to me and my life that all this busy activity.
For me, my process is to settle into meditation, to breathe deeply initially, to relax and tune through my body releasing tensions and noticing what’s there for me – what my body is telling me – how I’m feeling. Then, as I become stiller I notice my mental activity. Sometimes I’m slow to do that, being absorbed in whatever in life is currently absorbing me. At some point I become aware of my mind. Thus I become detached from it, noticing it as a witness to my mind. “I am not just my mind, I am more than just my mind”. I might at this point repeat my mantra, although I think a lot of meditators focus on their breathing. I let go of my thinking, and although it may carry on with its meanderings, it’s more in the background, I’m not absorbed in it, caught up in it.
Now, for me this is great training in the use of the mind in everyday living. Another of the beauties of meditation is that what one learns in meditation, one applies in life. It takes time and regular meditation to discover that but I think it is true. Here, detaching myself from my mental activity, letting go, is a crucial skill. It is this way that I have learned to drop what is going on for me that isn’t serving me. Yes, literally drop it. I might be caught up in some pointless internal dialogue and I become aware of it and choose to let go, to drop it. Similarly it is possible to do that with some feeling or some internal drama, although more about that next time.
It’s very simple. Going within, stilling the mind, letting go, re-focusing on what is worthwhile, following the vision, getting back on track with what life is really about. Try it. It’s a practice, so you’ll need to persevere. Let me know how you get on, maybe by posting a comment.