Have you ever wished that your mind would be quiet for once? At the age of 24, I came to a point in my life when I really wanted my mind to shut the fuck up. This is how my spiritual journey began.
I had broken up with my boyfriend a few months prior to this and I was still being tormented by. There was a bucking bull between my ears, holding me by a horn and dragging me face-down through the dirt. Oh how it burned. Badly. I was a woman possessed.
Unable to think straight, the only way to calm my nerves and stop the bullet train that had become my thoughts was to do the drive by. You know, from back in the days before online stalking became the way to feed your crazy, when driving by the house, relentless late-night phone calls and “chance” encounters were our only options.
I don’t know what I hoped to find there. A light on? Another woman stopping by? What was there to catch? Curiosity had me by the throat but this raging fire was only being stoked.
The problem had started when I felt his attention (which I believed to mean love) fading. I’d absolutely adored how into me he was for the first year! But when that shifted and he became preoccupied with other things in life, I couldn’t handle it. I wanted things to go back to how they were. I probably would’ve stamped my foot in protest. I’d become hooked on his attention and his compliments and I needed him to keep feeding me, damn it!
But alas, I was no longer Queen Bee in his hive. And oh how I hated it! My ego went to crazy town. I tried to get things back to how they were but reminiscing, scolding, sulking, silence, seduction… nothing worked! I could not get his attention back on me. So, sick of it all, ablaze, irrational and rather too soon (as was my way), I went for the break up.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Even this did not inspire the return to devotion that I’d been hoping, wishing, pleading and begging for. However, it did send my mind spinning off into other galaxies far far away.
For a while it was ok. Anytime I could feel like he still wanted me, I was ok. When I went off and didn’t hang out for a while and he wondered where I was, I could totally handle that. We were friends and I was cool with being his number one best female friend as long as he didn’t find any other women more attractive within like, the radius of the whole world and ok, at least to the edges of our solar system.
The real problem came when he moved on with another woman. That’s when my ego kicked into the highest of gears and I became obsessed like only a woman can.
I was sooo sick of myself.
And that’s when I found Absolute Happiness.
It was a book about how to remove emotional blocks and train your mind.
What? We can train our minds! Wahooooey!
Yes, sweet one.
If you don’t train your mind, you will be controlled by it.
At that time when I was 24, I realized that I found it so hard to let go of relationships because I was always hanging on so tightly to the past. I loved to reminisce with my friends, but I also got caught up in wishing things would go back to how they were and this prevented me from appreciating what was happening right now and from this place of enjoyment creating my future.
I didn’t think I still had this challenge but the ego can work in very subtle ways.
Just in our day-to-day lives, this egoic monkey mind jumps around and distracts you from your purpose and disrupts your peace. It’s the chatterbox in your head. It’s the voice that’s constantly reminding you of what you have to do and where you have to be.
Do you ever feel like everywhere you look there’s a project? Paint toenails. Pluck eyebrows. Tidy desk. Shave legs. Buy new clothes. Wash old clothes. Print, sign and scan form. Send emails. Reply. Update. Upload. Call. Message back. Shop. Pack. Withdraw. Apply. Get more sleep. Drink more green juice. Take iodine. Aaaaah! That’s the chatterbox keeping us small.
With all this chatter, you cannot hear you the clear voice of your intuition or your inner guidance system.
By creating space in our minds, we are able to become a clear channel to receive wisdom and guidance.
When I was 24 that’s what I did. I went to India and I finally learned to quieten my mind through meditation. (sooo Eat, Pray, Love I know but I was going anyway even before this happened, okay).
Before that I’d done Ashtanga yoga for 5 years and the part I disliked the most was the Savasana at the end when you were just supposed to lie there and be still. Be still! What? I wasn’t used to being still. I was used to reading while I ate, writing to fill the time and keeping my mind busy. So I would lie there listening for the teacher’s footsteps to signal the end of this crazy ten-minute ‘stillness.’ Even after an hour of yoga practice my mind would be jumping around incoherently from thought to passing thought. The only way I had to make sense of it all at that point was to write.
But all that changed in India. Returning 3 months later, my life was better than ever because I was better than ever. I was finally able to loosen my grip. For a while I kept up the daily meditation practice and I have continued to dabble in it over the years.
Lately though I have truly come back to the practice in a much deeper way. A week into twice daily 11-20minute meditations, I started to feel the wonder of sitting with a mind heavy with silence, look forward to it and feel its benefits. For one, it is enabling me to be truly happy on my own – which, I have recently discovered, is quite different when you’re living on your own and truly are on your own, to when ‘time alone’ means taking a break from your partner or family.
Meditation has quickly helped me to savour my own company, to be less sleepy and more motivated, even in the evenings. Sound good? This month there is even a global meditation challenge called Mindfulness in May, with participants committing to 10 minutes daily to bring more focus and effectiveness into their lives.
You probably know that a regular meditation practice eases anxiety, depression and stress. Even in my 20-minute practice, there’s a feeling that comes through meditation when I am “vibrating with the cosmos” and a smile comes across my face with the sense that everything is ok. We don’t need to do, be, feel or say anything at all (despite what we may feel when we turn on social media). Everything is perfect in our imperfect lives.
There are many ways to meditate but how I do it is by focusing on my breath. Before I start I say a prayer and then at the beginning of the meditation I repeat ‘I am being guided. I will receive‘ several times to calm my mind and quieten the chatterbox. Then I focus on the breath and when thoughts come up, especially if they cause an emotion, I might say “I am having this thought about… but it is not real” and let it pass, before refocusing on my breath and allowing the exquisite silence to engulf me again.
It’s so good.
A week into the practice my thoughts started to actually slow down too so I could examine them. I started to see how old patterns of thought and behaviour had been operating in my life, forgive myself and release them.
Through meditation, we may see our thoughts as they really are – products of our past and our learned perception.
In meditation our thoughts become untangled and ever so gently we set ourselves free.
That’s what it feels like to me anyway. For you it may be completely different. Love to know what you feel in the comments below. And if you like this or know someone who may need to read this, please share using the social media buttons below. Sharing is healthy!