Let’s face it as people interested in living longer, healthier, and better lives: it’s not just about how our bodies look and feel – it’s also about how peaceful and happy our minds are. Because if we have all the money or the best body in the world, but inside we feel anxiety, we have this busy mind or feel depressed – none of that has any real substance or flavor to pull us out of this rut.
We need to have both, we need to improve the health of our physical body, and we also need to work on calming and training our minds to become more peaceful. The good news is that just like if we want to build bigger biceps, we can do some bicep curls, so if you want to train a mind to be more peaceful, tranquil, and happy, you can train it with specific techniques.
Some techniques may dramatically decrease your mental chatter, so you don’t have all this mental baggage dragging you down. But first, let’s talk about the mind in general. The mind is constantly taking in impressions from all of our senses, everything we’re seeing, smelling, tasting, or touching. It’s getting all these sense impressions constantly when we’re in the waking state, and that’s leaving an impression on the mind.
We also have memory: this storehouse of past impressions and our emotional connection to all the past circumstances. This is where we get some of these negative scripts and thought patterns from our past. It’s like maybe when you were growing up, you got bullied, or you’re overweight, or you had insecurity about something like this that lingers in the subconscious mind and bubbles up in the form of all this mental chatter.
A lot of this is negative mental chatter that we tell ourselves: “Oh, you’re no good, you can’t do this. They never going to like you, so you shouldn’t even try.” These are some recurring patterns that are common for all of us. We share these busy minds, so we need to learn how to make them less busy, more peaceful, and focused. The secret is starting to do some basic meditation.
You can do it by essentially getting your body into a very still, upright posture and allowing your normal attention that is directed outwards, towards the world, to come inwards and rest upon the mind itself. Just sit still and allow your breath to be relaxed, your spine to be up and straight, and observe the thoughts that go through the mind.
When we meditate in this way, we make a very powerful distinction that begins to happen automatically. We observe those thoughts, and they come and go – that thought like “I’m fat” or “I’ll never succeed” crosses through the landscape of the mind, which we aware of – we see it enter from wherever it comes from, we observe it, and we watch it dissipate.
This is so important because as we train ourselves to essentially be centered upon the awareness in our mind, we do not become as entangled up to the thoughts. This is where the distinction is – normally, when we’re always busy and haven’t learned to get the mind to this awareness observing state through meditation, we identify with those thoughts.
When you think “I am fat,” you feel the pain of that thought, but in the meditative state, when that thought comes up, you’re merely observing it like a passing cloud we can see throughout the sky.
The more you do this – these thoughts start to lose their power. You’re not getting that same emotional reaction because you see this thought is something that arose in awareness, and it also dissipates in awareness.
So, if you are interested in quieting your mind, meditation is the best thing you can do. It certainly worked best if you start doing some meditation in the morning and at night as little bookends of your day. In the morning it’s very important because as we wake up a lot of us are starting to think about all the things we want to do in the day.
And before we get into that active mode, what if we can take five minutes and sit in a straight back chair or any posture that’s comfortable for you, relax all of your muscles, close your eyes, and observe whatever thought comes up or whatever sensation is in your body. As you do this more, those thoughts lose power.
It’s just five minutes. There are 1440 minutes every day, so we have five minutes to do this in the morning. It’s going to prime the mind to be in this more receptive meditative state. This is so important because you can go spend your whole life trying to rearrange the external circumstances: the person you’re in a relationship with, the amount of money you have, or the kind of possessions you do. You will never be at peace, you will never be happy, and maybe you’ll never have true health, which is a byproduct of having a healthy body and mind.
If you take this type of training as seriously as you might take your physical training, you’re going to be moving forward your life with such an amazing pace and power because you have a powerful mind that will then be focused and unshackled from the mental chatter. You’ll also have a powerful, healthy body because you have a mind that can focus on that with willpower and intention very easily.
And we recommend you do this at night as well. If you do this at night, it actually helps you not only fall asleep faster, but when you are asleep, your dreams are not going to be as active and crazy, which is adding to this mental chatter that carries on to the next day.
This is a lifetime of work, especially if you have a mind that has been trained and conditioned to be busy and chattering for many years. It is an unwinding of the chatter by observation and awareness. So, whatever technique you choose to do this, whatever kind of meditation or prayer is great – you got to be consistent with it.
And if you’re a person who feels like, “I just can’t sit still,” – you can do it while you’re walking. Take a walk in the morning, and take a walk before you go to bed. The key thing here is awareness and finding your seat back in that awareness and disentangle the mental chatter. It will bring you health and happiness.
We think it’s just as important as training the body, if not more so. Because ultimately, at the end of our lives, these bodies with age eventually do deteriorate, and we’re sat there with the quality of our minds and the reflections on how peaceful, happy impactful our lives are.