A unique way to meet a busy mind.
One of the biggest obstacles to practicing meditation that people complain about is having a really busy mind. The traditional invitation is to simply sit with that. What does it feel like to have busy mind? Can you get curious about all that is happening? Can you meet it with kindness?
Which sounds fine and good in the abstract, but sometimes all that can seem impossible, at least at first. So here is another thing to consider: maybe your mind really, really wants to tell you something, but you aren’t listening, so it gets louder and louder. Think about that. If a dear friend came to you and wanted to share something important, would you tell them to be quiet while you followed your breath until they went away?
The brilliant conflict expert Tammy Lenski offers a great approach when “sitting with it” doesn’t feel like an option. (It can also work at 3 AM when your mind is all over the place.) She suggests doing what you would do for that friend: Pause, listen deeply, paraphrase what you heard, and then ask if there is anything else. Basically offering your own mind your own loving presence so it feels seen and heard.
There is more to it than that, so check out her page on this for the full approach. She also has a short podcast on it. Indeed, if you spend much time dealing with those complex and confusing things known as other human beings, you may want to follow her podcast. It is packed with brief, highly effective approaches to ease difficult conversations.
BTW, if you want a lot of other suggestions about how to work with a busy mind in meditation, check out a series of my blog posts on it, starting here.
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