…continued from Becoming Aware 1:3 – Mind Noise
Situating Yourself: Clean Sweep Your Mind
As you become aware of your busy mind, one exercise might help before you look closer and deal with what’s actually there. You can do this exercise to give yourself a break from the din and to create some space so that you can approach and absorb the suggestions here. You can do it not only now, at the beginning of your journey, but at various points along the way when things get to be a little too much to handle comfortably. It does not offer a long-term solution to busy mind, but it introduces some temporary peace. As you move along the Quiet Corner path, taking the suggestions here, your mind will gradually become quieter and more serene. A time will come when you no longer need this exercise. But in the meantime, use it when your stress level is high or when you can’t sleep at night for all the voices and the who-what-when questions yapping at you. Or use it as a daily exercise until you achieve permanent quietness of mind.
Find a relatively quiet place where you can be alone and sit undisturbed for a half-hour or so. Bring your purpose tool with you and ground yourself in the here and now. Pay attention to the space around you and the way your body is feeling. Then sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take three deep, full breaths. Notice how you’re breathing. Then visualize your mind (or your brain center) and imagine that you can see all the various aspects that contribute to the noise there. Begin to isolate each one. Give each a shape, a name. Don’t judge. Don’t criticize or blame. Don’t analyze. Just observe.
Each time you identify a voice and name it, make it as small as possible. See it shrink in your mind and become just dust or ashes. Put it in a corner and move to the next voice and the next and the next, until you’ve identified and shrunk everything that crops up during this session. Then imagine this pile of ashes being swept up and thrown out. Imagine a gentle wind collecting it into a vortex and sweeping it out of your mind, through the crown of your head. Then imagine these ashes being blown into some sort of vessel for safekeeping. You might want to have with you a favorite bowl, vase, or box in which to deposit them. When you’re finished with the exercise, set this container alongside your Quiet Corner question bank and use it each time you practice this exercise.
Now, sit quietly and breathe. Take three long, deep breaths and just concentrate on your breath. How do you feel? Is your breathing any different now after this exercise? Don’t think too much. Give your brain a rest. Relax. Just breathe.
Now, do something nice for yourself. Go buy yourself some flowers or a book of poems. Sit in a garden or by a stream. Play with your dog or cat. Pick your child up early from school and play in the park, or go by yourself and sit in a swing. Just breathe, take a break, a long walk around the neighborhood. Pretend that you don’t have a brain for the rest of the day. Go out for dinner or let someone else cook. Don’t make any decisions. Care for yourself as you would a newborn. Be gentle and loving. Don’t worry, you will think again, and only too soon. For now, though, enjoy the luxury of no-brain existence and just breathe in the glory of life.
Trust that this exercise will make you more aware of what is in your mind—what can easily go, what you hold on to, and how much of what is there is uniquely your own. Your voice will slowly begin to whisper its presence to you, and you will begin to hear it.
Making the container for your brain’s ashes can be another fun project. If you’re handy with wood you might construct a box that suits your particular taste. Let your imagination run amok. If you knit, a wild-colored stocking with a flapped closure could be fun. If you want to make something but haven’t a clue where to begin, ask your children or a friend to help. Make a family project out of it. Or designate an old jewelry box or new coffee mug for your ashes. Be inventive. Be creative. Because you are.
To be continued…