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Want to Meditate? But Can’t?

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You’re not alone. Some of the best teachers and coaches have reported that only about 2% of people in Western countries can reach the true meditative state. In other words, they are people who cannot stop the flow of thought in their conscious mind. Are you one of them? Is your mind out of control? If so, what can you do?

Most importantly: Don’t give up. To borrow a tactic from sports, drop back twenty yards and do something different.

Stopping your mind from thinking requires control. But most people don’t have that control. So, instead of trying to control your mind, just become an observer of your thoughts. Use your meditation time to simply watch the stream of thoughts as they pass through your mind. Just relax and notice them.

During that time, you can make mental notes to yourself about what you’re seeing. Later, you can analyze them. As a result, you will learn a lot about the kind of mind you have. And that will let you manage your mind (and your life) a lot better. It’ll soon become obvious to you what you must do to slow down that torrent of thought.

If you sit five or six times per week (which, I’d say, is the minimum for any serious student), you will gradually develop and recognize—within yourself—a separate part of your mind you can call the Observer. You can be “in your Observer” some of the time and “in your Thinker” at other times. Then, any time you’re on your cushion, you can jump out of the Thinker and into your Observer—and back again. Naturally, when you’re sitting, you’ll want to spend most of your time in the Observer.

As time goes on, you may recognize the Thinker and the Observer as two different beings inside you. I chuckle because some of my shrink friends say that creates a split personality. Well, yes it does, but in this case it’s a very good and healthy way to separate what goes on in your mind.

For a few months or more, the Observer may be a bit weak. At times he might even be overcome and pushed to the background by the Thinker. But with consistent practice, the Observer will be available to you any time you need him. Even when you’re not sitting on your cushion. At some later date, your Observer may get strong and agile enough so that you’ll want to rename him—as Boss.

When you find that you can jump into Observer mode at will and at any time, that means you have made enormous progress. Congratulations! You are practicing Mindfulness Meditation.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

June 19, 2016 at 6:29 pm

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