The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts. It’s to stop letting them control you.
When you first learn how to meditate, sitting still isn’t the only challenge. It is figuring out how to manage the inner chatter and handle a conditioned mind. And, by conditioned I mean years of habits, recalling experiences that cause us to react or dwell on things and trapped emotions that can be triggered by sitting still enough to recognize them. As blissy as meditation can be, it has it’s own mud to walk through.
The dirt on meditation & mind chatter.
Ever notice that when you become incredibly still, the mind gets incredibly loud? Thoughts become more prominent, demanding and intrusive to that still and peaceful inner core the masters tell us about.
But knowing that it is possible to squelch the chatter and move into that calm centre regardless, makes the practice of meditation much more than a place to relax. It is a seat of personal power. It is transformational point that we can master our own energy and place of well-being. And, despite the cautionary tales of needing eons to master your mind. Allow the soul to speak to you. Here are some strategies that can open you up to intuitive guidance so that you can experience more peace and less chatter.
Distracted [ overload].
We are being taught and conditioned to be distracted. Massive amounts of information fly by us every day. A lot of ads, others asking questions, decisions to be made and places to be. Add to that, a phone that beeps when it receives a message or updates that flag you for your attention. It is a fierce competition and deliberate overload.
But if you allow these messages to add to your inner chatter, it will lessen the time to be productive, to achieve your goals or to focus. A simple “time out” minus phones, is healing and will reboot your mind. Hopefully, it will also give you a break from disruptive and/or negative information blasts.
Meditations where you pay attention to your breath by counting and holding it and counting, then releasing it, teaches discipline, focus and empowerment. Deep breaths calm and shift physiology. They can also shift you out of drowning in mind chatter. Breathing techniques are a form of self-rescue.
Find a method that works for you. Use it before going to sleep at night to improve your sleep or use to reset and balance your energy when you feel overloaded and ineffective.
Memory and to do lists.
Misplacing something is an interesting doorway into incessant chatter. Asking where you left X. How could you have? What am I avoiding and is losing this item helping me do that? Depending on how intense your search is, it might be hard to turn off the shouting and the panic comments flooding through your mind. But consider this idea.
What if you are over-working yourself and your mind, wasting energy and blocking the solution? Do something else. Take a walk, have a warm bath. Try to read or listen to music you love. Cook a meal. Then in that counter-distraction, you might get a flash of inspiration or be compelled to look at your path and how you misplaced X differently- enough to find what you lost.
Break the path. Nerves firing on the same track are like a car that has it’s wheels stuck in the snow. Pushing your foot on the gas causes the wheels to spin and dig deeper holes for the tire to sink into. A simple piece of card board under the back wheel will give you traction. Let your mind rest with a diversion task. Immerse yourself completely in what you are doing and see what happens to your mind chatter.
Without knowing, many people are responding to the emotional weather around them. We feel happy and then we enter a room, and can feel an instant change when you sense that something isn’t right or that someone is upset.
That inner radar is both healing and disempowering. It creates mind chatter and fear if we aren’t aware of what it is. Learn to listen to your own energy and clear out what isn’t yours. For tips on how to do that, have a peek at Listening to Energy article.
Wellness & Well-being.
We could spend a long time discussing how wellness can influence mind chatter. Both, from a neurosciences perspective but also from your capacity to assimilate toxic things and people. For instance, nutrition and sleep can change a day; increasing your susceptibility to wasting energy and time. And, falling prey to getting tripped up easily by something that isn’t your battlefield.
Well-being is health that moves beyond environments. It is establishing both an energetic and personal fortress through meditation, mindfulness, being fully present and residing with inner peace, no matter what is happening. Mind chatter may still dance through your mind, but with less impact. You will observe it and find it, interesting, revealing about where you are needing to heal or grow from. This is the difference. No longer is mind chatter a defect of your mind, or statement of how enlightened you are as a meditator. It is being in control of those thoughts that matters. And choosing to command them, will only elevate your well-being.
A [Blue Sky]Visualization to Soothe mind chatter.
- Breathe in deeply and allow the body’s tension to be released.
- Close your eyes. Let thoughts flood into your mind and see them as clouds rolling into a blue sky.
- Breathe in light and blow out thoughts.
- Scatter dark thoughts and dark clouds.
- Fill every cell of your body with light. Visualize cells glowing with radiant health and light energy.
- Visualize a blue sky. Crystal clear.
- Feel your energy rise as a sweep of blue sky moves throughout your body, elevating your spirits and bringing you into a balanced, and more peaceful NOW.
- Open your eyes when you are ready.
Previous blog posts offer two options for relaxation. One is through repetitive movement and the other is, to just lay or sit down and deeply relax. Both of these resolve the challenge of being distracted and disengaged from your path by mind chatter. While we all engage in inner thoughts, it is how we manage them that makes a difference whether they betray us or enable us to choose wisely.
Being more present:
Mindfulness is often used to describe a range of ideas about placing yourself in an observation state and tuning into your own energy. But being more present can also relate to how dominated we are by our inner thoughts. Mastering them with a simple visualization technique can be used to our own benefit and advantage. We can see what is interfering with a choice or what we are afraid of. And, it shows if we accept flaws in logic or are ready to try something new. It also allows you to step into your own power by being able to step into the middle of the thought storm and find a place to observe and choose wisely.
Breath activated focus.
Breath is a very powerful ally in clearing out mind chatter. Deep breaths shift our physiology and calm us down. The thoughts that had inspired anxiety, panic and fear can be subdued with breath and our ability to sharpen focus can be created with breath as well.
Letting thoughts pass through your mind like clouds and using light to clear out dark thoughts, is visually and mentally helpful. You can see the contrast and the division between one flood of thoughts to another.
Repetitive movement and mind chatter management.
A movement of your legs or arms establishes momentum. And it is through these movements that reoccurring thoughts can be replaced by something more empowering and positive. If we can picture blue sky, we can also use movement to push forward and propel ourselves through a thought storm. Have you ever solved a problem by going for a long walk? Or got inspired as you did laps in the pool? Then you will recognize how visualization of a blue sky can help you sweep out mind chatter and give you more mental clarity.
Mind chatter is not an issue that is faced by just newbie meditators. It affects everyone and can be triggered by events, lack of sleep, a memory, fear, mental overload and stress. But, it is no longer necessary to spend years in meditation practice to stop the monkey mind from destroying your inner peace. There are a few simple techniques you can do NOW to give you a break from intrusive, time wasting conversations.
Use your breath, your presence in the moment and a simple blue sky visualization technique to sweep away mind chatter. You control how much of your mental real estate you are willing to allocate to thoughts and for how long. It is empowering to know that any short disruption in this chatter can be freeing. And, that small break might be all you need to give you that edge and focus to propel yourself forward.
Have a wonderful and peaceful week.
Subscribe to Lightspeed’s Science meets Meditation blog, delivered to your mailbox every 2 weeks.
Check out Lightspeed’s latest meditation: Deep Relaxation.
Terrific post. Could not be written much better!