It would be nice, wouldn’t it if we always have a calm mind, or even if we could just make it be calm. We may even think there is no way right now I could engage in a beneficial meditation session; “my mind is just to agitated right now.”
It is possible thought to manifest a calm mind if we make an attempt to follow some simple suggestions. Of course though first you need to make up your mind that you will indeed engage in this effort. If you choose not to engage in challenging your busy mind then in fact it will not be a beneficial practice.
There are at least four main reasons for an agitated or racing mind.
One – we have taken on too many commitments. Perhaps a reason for this might be that we equate being successful or productive to being always occupied with one project or another. There are certainly some things which we might be unable to avoid doing. There probably, though, several commitments that we could say no to, if we so chose, and our lives would be no worse for having done so.
Two – it’s just too noisy. We are bombarded by noise, perhaps we think it makes us less anxious. I challenge you though to really look seriously at your patterns, do you turn on the TV or radio as soon as you wake up or when you get home. Is the first thing you do when there is silence, try to fill it with noise. There certainly is nothing wrong with providing our environment with some soundscape, however how much of our ‘need’ to have noise is about our fear of silence, because we might be exposed to the chatter in our head. As we run to noise are we running away from our mind?
Three – breathing, we just don’t think about it. All day long we breathe without giving it a second thought. As a first attempt at creating a calmer mind we might just take a moment from whatever we are currently doing and pay attention to how we are breathing. The faster, and with the least thought to breathing, the chances are the higher our blood pressure will be and even the less oxygen will be getting to our brain. When the brain starts getting a lot of oxygenated blood flowing, the brain then sends out signals to the rest of the body ‘I am safe, all is well, everyone can relax now’. So no matter what you are doing try giving a moment’s attention to your breathing.
This idea of intentionally focussing on and being aware of our breathing helps the brain shift from all the stressful thoughts racing through the mind and allows it to turn its attention to slow calming breaths. It brings us back to the hear and now.
Four – walking. You might try to include some walking into your day. This is not the walking you do to the copy machine or to another coworkers desk or even the walking you do to get from place A to place B. While that is of course good exercise, it isn’t the same as walking intentionally with no other purpose than to intentionally walk. Even if the walk does lead you to the break room, walk with some intention. Notice your feet hitting the floor, the feel of your clothes as they shift on your body from the movement. Notice the air across your face. See how many things you can become aware of in your environment, probably things you may have payed no attention to before.
The more you are able to incorporate these small mindfulness practices into your life, the more you also may become aware of other ways you can be more intentional as you go through your day. This intentionality will help you reduce stress, and may even lead you to actually get back down on the mat with a clear mind and do some serious meditation, or sutra chanting or mantra chanting.
Please feel free to share with me any comments you may have.
What are some of the things you can do to slow your life down and live more intentionally? You might consider picking one thing and practicing it for a week, then notice any changes occurring in your life. Document your successes and even those things that are not quite so helpful.If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive live updates on your Kindle reading device please follow this link Lotus Life Kindle Edition. You are able to try it for 14 days at no charge. After the trial period the charge is a nominal $0.99 per month. Your support would be greatly appreciated and would assist my temple Myosho-ji, Wonderful Voice Temple in spreading the Dharma.