Meditation: Calming a Busy Mind by Maggie Kay

Jan 5th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles, Extract, Mantra Books, Psyche Books

Some people say, “I’m just no good at meditating.” “I can’t sit still and my mind is all over the place.” Well, I have a couple of tips. The first thing to say is that energetic, active people are just as capable of meditating as peaceful, docile ones. My foremost Buddhist teacher, Sangharakshita, used to say that it is easier to calm down an overexcited, energetic person than it is to stimulate someone whose energy is very locked up or repressed. Take heart!

In fact, most of us experience times when we are stirred up and overexcited and find it difficult to settle down. It is just a matter of preparing for sitting meditation in a different way

I find that having a dance or a run or just jumping up and down a bit can really help to discharge a bit of raw energy. Running or swimming can be very meditative anyway and I would even go as far as saying that some people are better off meditating while they are engaged with something like this rather than sitting down. Personally, I love 5Rhythms dance. This is a free-expression moving meditation practice that gets me into similar states of peace and clarity as sitting meditation.

Another fantastic vehicle for our raw energy is our voice. Singing is great, but chanting can be even more effective. If we know a chant we can repeat over and over again it gives expression to some of our pent-up energy, and somehow this brings our energy into harmony and we calm down and can meditate more easily. It is said that the voice unifies the heart and mind.

You might like to try chanting the popular Buddhist mantra, “om mani padme hum”, the mantra (sacred sound) of the Buddha of compassion, Avalokiteshvara. Om mani padme hum literally translates as “om, the jewel in the lotus, hum” and has a poetic meaning of finding the treasure of yourself as you open up the lotus of your being. You can use a simple repeated tune or just chant in monotone.

It probably doesn’t matter what you chant. There’s a lovely story about a Buddhist disciple mishearing the mantra yet getting enlightened chanting, “om mani padme cow” instead of “om mani padme hum”. Another simple option is to repeatedly chant one of the ancient Indian ‘seed’ sound syllables like Ah, Om or Hum.

If you find that your mind is still a bit overactive once you are in sitting meditation, there is something else that can be done. As you follow your breath, pay particular attention to the sensation of your breathing low down in your abdomen. This brings your energy down out of your head and helps you settle. On the other hand, if you find that your energy is low or you are feeling sleepy, bring the attention up to where the breath first enters and leaves your body – your nose and mouth. This wakes you up and stimulates you.

Strangely enough, the tips for low energy, sleepy would-be meditators are pretty much the same as for overactive ones; we need to move our body. Moving the body puts us in touch with our feelings more authentically. If we move about a bit we may discover that we are low because we are unhappy about something and have shut down our energy or gone numb to avoid feeling it. Yet it is really a relief to get in touch with our feelings and have a good cry or rant. Of course, it may be that we simply need to sleep because we are tired, in which case, have a nap. However, it is okay to meditate while feeling sleepy and it can sometimes help us drop our habitual thinking. Whatever our feeling is, include that background into our meditation. Get pain or tiredness or unhappiness onto the bus too.

When we meditate, the main thing is that we relax. We relax physically, emotionally and mentally and that allows a deep, restorative, natural energy to flow through our body, heart and mind. I often encourage myself to let go into this state of rest and open-ness by remembering the simple Zen saying, “Body like a mountain, heart like the ocean, mind like the sky.”

Of course, quite often when we pause and begin relaxing for meditation, we realize how painfully tense, hard-hearted and busy minded we are. Initially, it can be uncomfortable feeling and acknowledging this. No wonder we would rather just stay frantic and numbed out. But if we know that it is important and helpful to melt anyway and ride the waves of discomfort for a short while, we soon find ourselves feeling better. Bringing some honest, loving attention to our self is the fastest way of feeling at peace with our self, no matter how we started out.

When I sit down to meditate and realize that my shoulders are painfully tense, or I am feeling bad about something, or mentally rerunning a difficult conversation I’ve had, I surround that pain with a big cloud of loving acceptance. I realize that the pain will not kill me – it is just a pain, a bit of discomfort. Soon, I am not lost in the pain, but gentle and curious about it. That, in itself, is soothing and the pain quickly loses its intensity.

The great gift of meditation is that it provides us with enough calm and inner space to make sure that we are choosing what is right for us. Once we practice giving ourselves this mental wherewithal when we meditate, our mind gets the idea and is much calmer and clearer as we go about our daily life. It only takes a few days of meditation to experience this and the results are wonderful.

Maggie Kay is an inspirational coach and founder of Thrivecraft. Formerly an ordained Buddhist, she specialises in spiritual intelligence for business, and manifesting ideal soul mate love relationships. Maggie trains accredited life coaches and meditation teachers and runs programmes from her country retreat in Cornwall, UK.

Website: http://www.maggiekaywisdom.com

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One Comment to “Meditation: Calming a Busy Mind by Maggie Kay”

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