How do I get a quieter mind? I get what you’re saying and I try. But I get busy at work. Next thing I’m all acting from ego again. I know I have to take the process in steps but it’s not really working for me this way. I just seem stuck at this much quiet. I need some advice on how I can create more. Any ideas? Thanks.
I applaud your efforts to develop a quieter mind. Once we do it we are easily motivated to continue to stay conscious because the world becomes increasingly beautiful as we achieve each new level of deepening silence.
When we stop judging what people are saying as they say it, and when we’re not formulating our responses before they’re even done talking, then our incredibly capably and fantastic mind can focus its attention (aka your consciousness) on the other person.
When we start to do that, we suddenly realize we’re starting to see them for the first time as a much more dynamic and capable and beautiful person.
I’ve had people work with me, they have this breakthrough of slowing down, and then they have lunch with an old friend and they actually cry because they can’t believe how beautiful their friend is.
They cannot understand how they could love their friend but never have loved them unconditionally enough to ever notice that special beauty before. But our thoughts act like bars, or web, or tape and they tangle us up and impeded our view of things.
One of the easiest ways to free our minds of judgment, over-analysis and opinion-generation, is to go somewhere neutral. That is to say, somewhere where the ego-self can lose our sense of importance. Somewhere that humbles us.
Ideally it would be somewhere where there is little order, more random serendipity, and maybe even some scents that actually signal to our primordial self that all is well and that we can relax.
Did you know that when we can hear birds singing we tend to feel better because that state of affairs is stored in our 100,000 year old brain under the heading, all is well? It was when the birds go quiet that our brains learned to turn their wariness levels up.
May I would suggest getting back to your roots? Literally. Get back into nature. And don’t just walk on it in expensive shoes. Lay on some grass. Look at some clouds. Listen to insects and bird songs. Watch some ants. Be more like a kid. If you do it right, it won’t take long to get fascinated.
Stop judging and manipulating using thoughts and just Be instead. Just Be in that place at that time. Forget all else. Taste the air. Take in the sights, smells, sounds and feelings as one experience. No words. Just intake. Breathe in with every sense.
Many modern working people can easily go extremely long periods of time without touching any actual nature. And yet depression rates soar and no one looks to how we live to see the explanations for these changes in the public mood.
We’re too disconnected. From each other, from nature. Forget going to a movie or watching a show. I know I make movies, and movies can be great art, but we’ve done that and we’re not satisfied with life. So change something.
Play some board games with friends, even if it has to be online. It’s is better than not being together. What counts is where our consciousness is in those cases.
And if we do exchange words or ideas, they should not be about personal issues. Better than gossip, we can talk about meaningless things simply because they amuse us. Or we can be fascinated and marvel at some achievement, or try to understand some big idea.
We must remember that our life is quite short and that we have to make our enjoyment of it an actual priority. Ad companies do massive amounts of research. If we’re not defending our consciousness by placing it’s focus elsewhere, sophisticated people will zombie us with marketing designed to direct our focus.
Without a greater purpose, we can ended up herded along as marketing leads us to a life of little more than trading in trinkets. If we’re looking for abiding mental health, we want the sorts of experiences that we would want more of at the end of life, not the stuff we won’t even care at all about by then.
Try putting your feet in running water. Bird-watch. Study insects with your kids. Close your eyes and listen. Start noticing how the sound the rain makes. And note how that sound changes as the ground gets more and more saturated.
Notice the back and forth of birdsong. Think about the fact that as you walk through a forest you are walking through only half of its ecosystem because below you the trees go just as far out or down as they go up or out.
There’s 50,000 earthworms per acre burrowing holes in the soil to help water reach roots, and their castings supply fantastic food sources for the plants growing above.
Consider how, for the birds, the forest is a very three-dimensional place. They would sense the shape of the treetops —something we cannot do without the help of a bridge or cliff. These are the sorts of things that become apparent when we are present.
You get my point. If you’re going to then be there, then don’t think about being in the forest. Actually be in the forest. Fully in it, with all your senses.
We don’t need gym memberships as much as we all need to maintain our acquaintance with our basic nature. We can eat simple foods and get lots of sleep and drink enough water.
Our lives should also encourage us to spend regular stretches of time in quiet solitude. Do that and a richness will rise up your life that is difficult for me to convey in words. Life gets an intensity and a hum and glow and it almost feels like being hugged by the universe.
You had this feeling all of the time as a kid. We cans get back to that. We can start today. Today and hereafter, less self-talk and more absorption of the world around us. Both we and the world will win if that’s the focus.
Here’s to the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feel of nature. Here’s to simplicity and quiet and meaninglessness and fun. We weren’t put on this Earth to earn a living. We were born to live.
But living is a verb. It does not happen automatically. We must engage with life by making choices that lead to adventure and experience. We must exercise our freedom of choice about what to put into our consciousness. When we do, the whole world opens up.
I look forward to seeing you out there in that world. It’s a wonderful place filled with amazing people like you. So go give it all a big virtual hug by just appreciating it. And I’ll keep an eye out for you on the trails.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.