When I was a kid, I had a keen sense of the incredible power of the human mind. I even told my dad, literally at the age of 7 or 8, that I loved my mind… but it also scared me. I loved its creative power – the imagination especially – but it felt just too powerful at times. I imagine we’ve all sensed this.
In my 30s, in part thanks to books like The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, followed by A Course in Miracles (commonly referred to as ACIM), I began to get a much clearer experience of how powerful the mind is, and came to understand why I feared its creative powers as a boy. It’s like having a super power (!) – one that in many ways IS too powerful for our separate and small human self, however, not so for our always-plugged-in spiritual Self. And therein lies the key to solving the problem of fear when it comes to the power of the mind – keep the mind under the capable and watchful hands of our spiritual Self.
Like so many people I’ve talked to, I was challenged at quieting my then overactive mind, so I started up a simple daily meditation practice a dozen or so years ago. Nothing special and no technique required… it was really just about setting aside and prioritizing the time, getting quiet even for a just a minute or two at a time initially, and plugging into a sense of ‘all that is, as it is, just right now.’ I have found for myself since then that 15 to 20 minutes at least once a day works wonders. With some practice too, meditation enables us to create a safe, peaceful ‘place’ that we can go to at any time, day or night, when a peaceful respite from any form of stress is needed or desired. Priceless! You may find that you prefer using one or some of the many techniques out there. For me, techniques that required special breathing or posturing tended to get in the way of my sense of spontaneity and ‘formless union with formlessness.’
Back in those early stages I had to consider: do I prefer a mind that is peaceful, ordered and quiet, or one that feels under a constant flood of thoughts rising and falling on so many levels they just feel like mental noise. I preferred, and needed, a quiet mind. Eventually I also came to learn that my hunch as a kid was absolutely correct – what it was I feared about the mind – that there really is no such thing as a ‘powerless’ thought; that all thoughts produce form on some level, whether we see it with our eyes or not. So it came clear there’s just a lot of potential for unpleasant fallout from an undisciplined mind, running amok with thoughts.
Meditation has become a key part of my daily mind-training practice. I wanted to make this brief post about it for those of you out there who are on the fence about whether or not you can successfully learn to quiet your mind. You most certainly can with some willingness and reprioritizing. Ultimately I cannot imagine a much more important thing to do with a bit of time daily. All I can say about the results is once you have experienced what it’s like to have an authentically peaceful mind, you will never regret having put in the effort. You’ll know first-hand the transformational gifts that come from meditation.