Meditation and clearing your mind seem to go together but it’s often thought that you need to clear your mind in order to be able to meditate. Whilst that is a good state to be in and can make for some fantastic meditation sessions, it’s not a pre-requisite. In fact, it’s often the case that meditating encourages the process of clearing your mind and that state is only achieved part way through the process.
Our minds are complicated things and there are lots of different natural states that they can be in.
All too often in our modern world, our minds are buzzing and almost hyperactive. So it can be a good thing to help our mind to slow down and generally chill out.
One thing I’ve noticed when I’ve tried to quieten my mind is that often the very thought has the opposite effect. In much the same way as concentrating on getting to sleep often causes us to stay awake longer, the same can happen when you attempt to quiet your mind.
The very thought process you are trying to quell almost seems to rebel at the thought of being quietened down.
So how can you clear your mind ready for your meditation?
The first thing is to realise that a quiet mind isn’t necessary for all types of meditation. Indeed, a lot of meditations will help the process along nicely.
My personal preference of using a binaural beats meditation is one such instance. It’s designed to electronically induce a different brainwave state without any help from the person listening. Because it uses a scientific process to induce that state, you really have no choice but to let your mind quieten itself. So if you’re having constant battles to get your brain to stop buzzing this can be a simple and effective way to go.
Another simple method is taking a few, long, deep breaths in and out.
It’s a bit like yawning but in a controlled way.
The deep breaths will help you to relax because, apart from anything else, they help you to realise that you need to slow down.
Think about it for a second: the deep breaths have to be slower than normal because that’s the only way you can perform them. A sharp intake of breath doesn’t have the same effect.
The side effect is that when you’re concentrating close to 100% on your breathing, your mind has to play down the other things that were distracting it. So there’s the extra benefit that you’ll clear at least some of the thoughts from your mind at the same time.
A third way to help clear your mind is to do your best to let go of the thoughts that come into it.
Most of us have a tendency to cling onto our thoughts – almost as though we’ll never have another thought to replace the ones we’re so desperate to keep.
Let your thoughts slip through your mind if you can. And definitely loosen any grip that you’ve got on them – and notice how your mind stops racing as much when you do that.