If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. This special kind of meditation technic is called “mindfulness”.
Here how the technique “mindfulness” works and how to practice it –
- Sit cross-legged in a quiet place, preferably on a low pillow or cushion to reduce strain on your back. Your back should be straight in such a way that it should not hurt you. Take deep breaths.
- Close your eyes and listen to your inner monologue, the thoughts that spin through your mind all the time: home, work, office, travel, movie etc. Those thoughts are the chattering of your “monkey mind.” Don’t try to stop it from chattering, at least not yet. Instead just observe how it jumps from thought to thought. Do this for five minutes every day for a week.
- After a week, without trying to silence your monkey mind, during the meditation, shift your attention to your “ox mind.” Your ox mind is the part of your brain that thinks slowly and quietly. It senses things around you. It doesn’t try to assign meaning to anything. It just sees, hears, and feels. Most people only really hear their ox mind when they experience a “breathtaking moment” that temporarily stops the monkey mind from chattering. However, even when your monkey mind is driving you crazy with blah blah or hush hush, your ox mind is still there, thinking its slow, deep thoughts.
- Once you’re feeling more aware of your ox mind, ask it to start quieting your monkey mind down. What worked for me was imagining the monkey mind going to sleep due to the slow walking of the ox as it moves patiently along a road. Don’t get upset if your monkey mind keeps waking up. It’s a monkey, so it can’t help acting like one. However, you’ll find that, despite its protests, your monkey mind would rather give it rest and stop making all that tiring and tiresome noise.
- As your monkey mind calms down, continue to shift your attention to your ox mind. Each breath will seem to take a long time. You’ll feel the air on your skin. You may feel your blood flowing through your body. If you open your eyes, the world will look brand new and even rather strange.
- While it can take a while to get there, you’ll know you’re doing the exercise correctly when it seems as if no time has passed at all between when you started the timer and when it goes off. When you succeed at that, gradually increase the amount of time you spend each day. Weirdly, no matter how long you practice, it will seem as if no time has passed.
In my experience, daily practice of mindfulness has three valuable results:
First, it completely eliminates stress. While the stress may return, it’s starting from scratch and thus has less chance of snowballing into something unmanageable.
Second, it eliminates insomnia. When I was practicing this regularly, I was able to close my eyes and go to sleep within two or three seconds. That alone is worth the effort, in my view.
Third, and most important, it allows you to think more clearly and more creatively about everything happening in your own life. In my case, I used the sense of calm to extract myself from an unhealthy relationship and a job that made me miserable.
So, while I can’t promise that practicing mindfulness will make you as creative as Steve Jobs, I can promise from my own experience that mindfulness will create positive change in your life.