More than just mindfulness

How to calm and silence your busy mind

September 21, 2018 Season 1 Episode 4
More than just mindfulness
How to calm and silence your busy mind
Chapters
More than just mindfulness
How to calm and silence your busy mind
Sep 21, 2018 Season 1 Episode 4
Robert Mitchell
If you take the time to witness your thoughts, you will notice the story, the narrative, of the mind. This session is an exploration of thought and some meditations that allow us to listen in on our inner conversation.
Show Notes Transcript
This session is an introduction to thought and calming or silencing the mind Meditations are: - The meditation of no meditation for sound - The meditation of the next thought - Counting the breaths - The meditation of no meditation for the breath - Following the breath
Speaker 1:
0:00
Today. The theme is thought I managed to say that. It's quite good, isn't it? So that's a tongue twister, isn't it? What I thought I'd do is actually talk about thought because this came up in the retreat today. What a lot of people want to calm their mind. They don't actually want to calm their minds just to have a quiet mind. They want to calm the mind because the contents of the mind are unsatisfactory. So to understand why that is, we have to understand what thought is. So if you listen in on your thought processes, what you'll hear is a story. It's a narrative. So let's say you're trying to figure something complicated out. This narrative will run, but the decisions about what you do and ideas aren't part of the narrative. What happens is they pop up their little aha moments there like literally insights, intuition and choice, insights and inspiration. Each one of those is like a little solution to a little problem and when you have enough then something makes sense. It's actually got nothing to, well, he's got something to do with the thought narrative because if, if the narrative is working on something, then the intuition and insight and choices, we'll all be associated to what we're thinking about.:
Speaker 2:
1:48
Okay.:
Speaker 1:
1:48
But if we're thinking about something in a really repetitive, it's got into a loop basis that tends to go away and we're just left with the loop. So it's as if the thought process spins its wheels:
Speaker 1:
2:05
and, and that's kind of, that's an explanation of what it's like to think. It seems to come in these, in these two categories, you're thinking about something. There's the narrative, it could be a dialogue or it could be a monologue. I'm sure that most people experience that, but possibly not. So your thoughts might just be a monologue. St might might just be your, your inner voice. And you know, there's a, there's a kind of sense about who you're talking to. You could be talking to yourself, you know, we've got this sign. If we go and give yourself a good talking to you because it thinking things that are unhelpful for your happiness as somebody says, give yourself a good talking to, and we know what that consists of and then there's the inner critic and the inner critic can rattle away for a long time. So that's a kind a the very lightest level. What the experience of thoughts in his mind wandering a mind wandering can be anything. So mind wandering can be a long dialogue rattling on about something or it can be experiences and scenarios and memories and they all kind of fits together in a fuzzy sort of mosaic. It doesn't really take you anywhere and often waste your time. And then often these choices and intuition and insights will arise.:
Speaker 1:
3:42
Personally. One of the Times I find that that my mind is most useful, that it pops up good ideas and sensible suggestions and choices and it remembers stuff that I forgot is when I'm in the shower or something like that. So I'm actually not really thinking at all. Or if I am, I mean I kind of waft the shower place and then that's something our, I forgotten to turn the gas off or whatever it happens to be. You know, it just pops up in your mind, doesn't it? And one of the reasons for that I think is because your minds calm and you're relaxed, it gives, it creates a space for the ideas to arise. So that's just my m ensure everybody's different in some way. But I'm sure you will recognize some aspects of your inner experience there. But people want to, to calm the mind.:
Speaker 1:
4:35
I speak to my students about sort of 10 15% of them admit to having a constant inner dialogue. So it just doesn't shut up. They wake up in the morning and the Yada, Yada, Yada. They go to bed at night, Yada yet, and it hasn't silenced. And when they're doing the meditations in the background, Yada, Yada, Yada, Yada. And it doesn't stop. I think more people experience that, but I don't think we're very comfortable admitting it. So a lot of people want me to teach them to silence their mind. And you'd think that there would be some clever technique. I can only really talk, teach you how I silence my mind and I can tell you the theory that I have about how we can really calm the mind down. It's an, is an interesting guy called EC at taller who's very, has anybody written read any of his books?:
Speaker 1:
5:34
The power of now, for example? Yeah. Uh, he was interviewed and so he's a world famous author, travels all over the place, meets people like Oprah and the Dalai Lama and so on and so forth. So He's, he's rich and famous. And you know, it's a very common question from the journalists when, when they're speaking to a rich and famous person, they sigh what was the best moment of your life? And they're kind of expecting our, the release of my book when I sold 10 million copies when I met the Dalai Lama and he said, when I learned to silence my mind, so shut up talking. Robert, how do you silence the mind?:
Speaker 1:
6:25
One of the things to realize before I go on and get to the nitty gritty is the other, the mind is most active when there's an inconsistency between what you're experiencing and what you expect and the greater the inconsistency is, the more work the mind's doing because what it's doing is it's creating the story and the story has to be consistent. Actually very little is consistent about our experience, but we need to have this story, the story of me and it needs to be a continuous story and we need an explanation for why that person is so angry with me or why I prepare to be rejected or why or what. All the wise we've got to have an answer and the narrative finds an answer and it finds an answer whether it makes any sense or not. It's a thing called the interpreter and it's there to interpret your experience in a way that's consistent with what you already believe, no matter what your experience is, which is why p that's where it denial comes from. Everyone's seen denial. Somebody is in denial of something that comes in when their reality isn't consistent with their expectations.:
Speaker 1:
7:52
And then of course the mine's got a lot of work to do. And if you speak to the person that's in denial, they'll give you a story and you listen to the story and you know that it's got nothing to do with reality. It's the story that they use to keep their story going. When we're talking about silencing our minds, what we actually want to do is to calm it down. To be honest, I can just shut it up, but not in the way you'd expect. So this is what I've experienced, all of the, the ways that I observed my, in their experience and the things I did. So I did all of this meditation and I tried this meditation and that meditation, there's no meditation called the how to silence your mind meditation. But in this process, one of the things that I was doing was looking inwards.:
Speaker 1:
8:46
Best Way to explain it is as an analogy with day to day experience. When we start meditating, I'll do a, that will give you a bit of insight into what this might be like inside to really calm the mind. The way the idea of it is I listened to the thoughts, so it's the opposite. A lot of, a lot of what happens in the mind, so you've got a causal world out of here in the mind. Often you get the reversed effect to what you expect. We give you an example. Let's say you've got to get up early in the morning, so it is you leave yourself plenty of time. You go to bed early so that you can get a good night's sleep and what what you're doing, you're trying to get to sleep. It's really important you get to sleep. So the harder you try and get to sleep, the more difficult it is to sleep. And then the mind starts up [inaudible] you're trying to get sleep, trying to get sleep, trying to get sleep. You suddenly happens to 80% of people, some people to sleep anyway, but I the rest of the US, the percent, try and try and try and try and get support at two o'clock in the morning. You get up at four 30 for this life. Might as well stay awake out like a light.:
Speaker 1:
10:08
That's just one example where you're trying to get an effect and you get the opposite. So I find my mind is calmest. The inner chatter, when I'm witnessing it, it's a little bit like the more you listen in the external world to something, the more you become aware of it with the mind is different. Let me give you an example, right? What's the next thing you're going to think quickly? What is it?:
Speaker 2:
10:45
They go so much mind.:
Speaker 1:
10:49
You can't do this to yourself unfortunately. Well, you can't and you can. You can't in Hawaii because what you can do is you can look for that place where the thoughts are coming from because that's what you were doing. Now I can't show you how to do it, but that's it. What's the next thing you're going to think? You're kind of listening internally to that place where thoughts arise and you didn't know that you knew where it was until you started looking. The only started looking when I said it's really important was the next thought coming from. That's the place to look. What you're doing is you're not trying to silence the mind. You want the thought to come because what you want is to know what it's like to observe a thought, come into your experience:
Speaker 1:
11:51
and you're looking for it. We'll do an external version of my meditation that helps me to calm my mind or my life. Now. Nowadays I just look where's the thought that was? That was quiet because I've learned to to look at the external version of the meditation in the same way that when we, when we meditate and we look inwards, we're looking for the source of thought. We want to find out where it is. With this, what we're actually doing is listening externally. It's the meditation of no meditation and the meditation of no meditation. It's very important that we don't fall into the trap of making it a meditation. It's just an exercise. And what it is is a listening exercise. And so once you're somewhere where there's enough sound in this listening exercise, what we're doing is allowing that sound into our experience and what the mind normally does.:
Speaker 1:
13:11
But let's say I was to say to you, right, sit down and listen to your experience here. What you can hear, the mind will tend to go and find something, a notice it. For instance, there's the door creaking. So what it will be doing is it will be wondering if there's anybody opening the door coming in or out. So we'll open their eyes and so on. So it's got kind of got a purpose. It wants to know what's going on around him and it does that by choosing one sound. Then another sound, it's as if we're looking around ourselves. We're looking at one thing and we're looking at something else, looking at something else. But this is slightly different in this exercise. The meditation of no meditation for sound. What we're actually doing is allowing all sound into our awareness. And so we're fortunate to have sound. We've got the door creaking, we've got people out in the hallway coming and going. There's the sound of the traffic, there's the sound of my voice. There's movements in the rum. Um, wherever you are, you're at the center of a big bubble of sound that stretches for a long way. So if there's an airplane that you can hear, it's many miles says this, his bubble of sound:
Speaker 1:
14:33
stretching for many miles, sorry, here a few hundred yards. We can hear the traffic and a few feet. We can hear the people. It's the bubbles all around us and then it is a collection of sounds:
Speaker 3:
14:52
and what we're doing rather than the mind moving from one sound to another. Instead what we do is allow ourselves to be aware of all sound. So it's like if we were lying floating in the center of a swimming pool, there's people all around the swimming and splashing and playing. There'd be waves coming from everywhere and all we'd notice is the movement of the waves all around us. We wouldn't be able to attend tiff on individual waiver with those. There's the person over in the corner. It's just yet another wave and sound is wave. So what we're doing is allowing all of these waves and so it's like another way of looking at it is it as though we were listening to an orchestra and we can either choose to listen to an individual instrument or we can listen to the theme and that's what all this sound is coming from. Everywhere is the theme of the orchestra of the present moment, and it's all around us and we're in the center of it and we can actually use it to orient ourselves with, so let's say all the lights went out and it was really dark and we couldn't see anything. We'd know where we were because of the sounds around us:
Speaker 3:
16:34
and we'd be able to navigate our way around in the building. And that's all this exercise consists of is listening. Now. There's no goal, no expectations. You don't get anything that's not training for anything. It's just an exercise in listening. So help us to learn how to listen.:
Speaker 2:
17:19
Yeah,:
Speaker 3:
17:25
no. What I'm going to do here is so often to add to the orchestral nature of the experience.:
Speaker 2:
17:32
I'll sound the bell.:
Speaker 3:
17:47
That's all we're doing. My just listening. So there's, there's no trying, this is the case of this. I don't try to do anything because there wasn't a girl. So we're not trying to silence our mind. We're not trying to focus on anything. Why don't try and account, we're not trying to do anything. Just aware of Sam. So I know very on time gently return your attention to your surroundings.:
Speaker 3:
19:41
Hey, so that was a listening exercise. Now what we're going to do is do the same thing and saw him and listen. Listen to your fault. No, it's how we were able to listen. That wasn't a connection to it, but just noticing it on stilts rise thoughts or subside. But what you want to do is to find where they come from. So out here in the room with the eyes closed, we know the sound's coming from over there. When the door creaks inside, the thoughts are coming from somewhere. We want to know where that is. Just witnessing the thoughts. So we're not trying to silence them. We want to know where they come from.:
Speaker 2:
20:32
Okay.:
Speaker 3:
20:33
We don't have that experience and noticing the thought come into our mind.:
Speaker 2:
20:41
Yeah.:
Speaker 3:
20:43
And so the place we're looking for is a place somewhere, somewhere in the between areas and our body to the left of us apart. What's behind us. We don't know where we're looking for the location, the place in spice, when thoughts arise. Even if there's a thought, if there's, if there's a constant thought, what we're looking for is the next one. The thought that hasn't arisen. Yeah. Or if there's an inner dialogue, the word that it hasn't been spoken internally. Yeah, that's the one we want to catch. Oh, we're not trying to do anything with it. We just want to see it. Notice it. Upsetting experience at Harris, most importantly, discover where it arises. So this isn't so much listening to our thoughts. It's discovering whether the next thought is going on, arise and wild. So this is what I call the meditation of the next thought. That's it gets uncomfortable for anybody. Don't have to continue. You can drop out, you can do the meditation and no meditation for sound. So you're noticing the sounds, the external sales.:
Speaker 2:
23:42
Right.:
Speaker 3:
23:43
Okay. Feel comfortable with it. And Kate were located.:
Speaker 2:
24:21
Okay.:
Speaker 3:
24:24
Okay. So noticing the sensations of sitting, feeling of your feet being pushed into the ground. And I seen your fingers and toes might be wiggling them. What you can smell, what you couldn't sliced. And then gently annual, very on time. We're sending your attention to your surroundings. There's two responses. One response, he's calm mind. The other response, he's busy mind, busy mind people. Calm mind people. 50, 50 but it doesn't matter because there were lots and lots of different meditations for calm mind and busy mind.:
Speaker 2:
25:15
Yeah,:
Speaker 3:
25:15
the world's divided institute groups. Okay. So my theory is that all the people who had a busy mind that time round this meditation, we'll calm their mind. That's my, that's my prediction. And then we'll do another meditation after that and we might swap back. So this particular combination, it's more about calming it than silencing it, but keep looking and in time, one day when you're feeling powerful, it will happen. Okay? So this meditation, this is the meditation that most people find calm their mind count in the breasts. What we do in is noticing the breath for people that first start to do this. There's a tendency because what you're doing is your account in the embraced counting out breath using the inner voice. So you count one on the in breath till on the outbreath, three on the in breath, on the out breath like that.:
Speaker 3:
26:18
I'll run through the rest of it. But to clarify the the V, the thing that most people find many people find difficult to it is that they find themselves breathing in time. So they're counting instead of counting the breaths. So in the same way that we were listening to the sounds externally and there were listening internally for our thoughts, it's the same thing when noticing the breath. So we're not causing the breath to happen when noticing it. So it's good to start off by notice in the breath. Just noticing the breath, rising and falling without doing any counting in breath, out, breath, rising,:
Speaker 2:
27:14
fallen.:
Speaker 3:
27:18
That's the relationship to the breath for counting the breath. You're noticing the breath happen. We count one on the in breath using the inner voice to on the outbreath. Three on the in breath, four on the out breath until we get to 10. When we get to 10 we start at one. When we lose count, we start at one so that's one on the in breath to on the outbreath. Three on the in breath for on the outbreath up to 10 gets a 10 begin at one lose, count, begin at one. So I'll begin and end it with a bell. I'll guide you into it. Counting the breath. That's one on the in breath till when the outbreath three on the end. Breath on the outpour. I thought to 10 when you reached 10 start at one. When you lose count star one remember the relationships with the breath is one of witnessing the breath when noticing it. When we notice it, rise account count one. When we notice it subside, we count too and so on.:
Speaker 1:
31:25
Can I? So again, noticing the sensation of saying filling yourself pain pushed into the ground, seeing what you can smell and taste. We returned to your attention to the room.:
Speaker 1:
31:45
If that comes your mind. This one probably won't, but we'll see how it goes. So this is what I do is I divide the world up into counters and label as counselors or people whose minds become calm from counting the breaths, liable as a people whose minds become calm by doing labeling. Thoughts. So for labeling the thought, again, there's an element of listening, but what we do is we start off by noticing the breath. So when we're noticing the breath in labeling the thoughts, we're using it as a reality check to know that we're here. While I'm aware of my breath, I know that I'm present. My mind hasn't warranted because it's like an anchor to the present moment. We know it's here. One, I'm aware of the breath. Here I am. And so:
Speaker 3:
32:40
you're noticing the breath and while you're doing that, yeah, again, you're listening for thoughts. When a thought arises, what you do is you label it in your mind using a word and the word is thinking. And then you label it and you come back and noticing the breath, noticing the breath thought arises in a voice and you sign your mind thinking, come back to the breath. Now the thought, thinking back to the breath, so it's got an element of listening to it, the internal listening that we did earlier.:
Speaker 2:
33:24
Um, and, and:
Speaker 3:
33:29
you're waiting. So it's like a cat sitting outside a mouse hole. It not as the mouse is in there, that's the thought. It knows it's got to come out. Doesn't know if it can be straight away, might be five seconds, might be 10 seconds. But there's going to be a thought. So the cat sits there calmly in the knowledge that the mouse is going to come out. We sit calmly noticing, listening to the thoughts, knowing that the thoughts going to arise and when a thought arises, we label it thinking in our mind. And then back to the breath. Wait for the next thought. Yeah, let's give that a well, if you just want to get yourselves comfortable:
Speaker 2:
34:09
and we bring our attention to the breath, just noticing the breath, see the breath. We're only saying noticing the breath. Folan:
Speaker 3:
34:25
we're staying connected to that so that we know we're present. We're nowhere here. I mind hasn't wandered while were aware of the price. Um, all we're doing that we're listing out for thoughts, noticing wherever the thoughts come from. That's where we're focused. We're waiting for the next thought. When a thought arises, what we do is label in our mind using the inner voice and we Sinai mind thinking, and then went back to noticing the breath and we're waiting for the next thought.:
Speaker 2:
35:02
Okay.:
Speaker 3:
35:03
No, the thought arises,:
Speaker 2:
35:05
label it. Thinking back to the breath, white for the next goal. So this is labeling thoughts,:
Speaker 3:
35:19
noticing the breath, waiting for Thall for arises. Label it thinking.:
Speaker 2:
35:25
Okay:
Speaker 3:
35:25
by itself. The breath white from the next thought repeats:
Speaker 2:
36:19
then in, in, in.:
Speaker 3:
38:21
Okay. Alright. So what we're gonna do is move straight into another exercise. This is what I call the meditation of no meditation for the breath. And what it consists of is a movement in the ballet. As we prayed, all we're doing is noticing the movement. So there's no instructions with this other than to notice the movement of the ballet and the place we notice the movement of the ballet is the point just where the belly meets the chest. I don't know. We're doing is noticing that might when notice in the rising sang it full name, rising, falling. So there's nothing to try to do. No goals, no expectations. You don't get anything out of it because it's a meditation or no meditation. Well, you ask why we're doing it. We're doing it because we don't get anything out. We do everything that get something out of it. So it's good to have something that we just do without gaining anything. Just noticing the breath rising in the Peli unfolding. It doesn't matter if the mind wanders. Doesn't matter if your thoughts are busy. It doesn't matter what emotions there are. If you're uncomfortable moved until we all comfortable.:
Speaker 3:
40:20
Want to just notice in that movement arising:
Speaker 2:
40:25
on the phone.:
Speaker 3:
42:06
Can I answer now? Link to the breath in the nostrils. Best Way to David likes. If you place your tongue gently up against the back of the top teeth, what you find is you're naturally breathe in and out through the nostrils. So check in on your posture. Are you comfortable? It's your back reasonably straight child pose by the side. Is Your Chin up? Are you, is your skull is comfortably balanced on top of the spine as it can be. You comfortable. And then you're noticing the sensation of the breath in the nostrils. Noticing the feeling of the breath and the feeling of the outbreath coolness of the breath on the warmth of the outbreath.:
Speaker 2:
43:13
Okay.:
Speaker 3:
43:15
And then the mind will wander. This exercise is designed so that the mind wonders why it's so neutral. We wanted to keep the mind focused on something. We'd make it more interesting that way. The mind to wander so that we notice and then we notice the mind's wandered and we bring our attention back. Notice the breath and noticing the breath. Mind wanders, thoughts, images, scenarios, memories, experience, comfort, discomfort. Wherever it goes. When you notice that the mind's wandered, your only job is to come back and notice the breath. Uh, noticing the breath. Mind wanders back to the breath. Notice the breath, find wanders back to the repeat. Okay.:
Speaker 2:
44:35
Yeah.:
Speaker 3:
44:35
Since the mine. Mindfulness Meditation, if you only do one and you can choose then to this one. Cool. Following the breath. Cool. Pressing, warm breath out.:
Speaker 2:
46:18
Yeah,:
Speaker 3:
46:32
it's nice. Isn't an exercise to try and calm the mind. It's just a process of allowing the mind to wander, bring it, hit pack one debris in it, pipe repeating that over and over again. That's the purpose of it. So if your mind wanders a lot, cause fine, it's doing what it's supposed to. If your mind's busy, it doesn't matter. The mind wanders a thousand times. Who are we to his channel? He was hunter attention to the price of a thousand times. So the mind will try to turn it into a competition. That's how check expect you shouldn't have to it. It will decide it's on the size factory. None of that matters. It doesn't matter. Doesn't matter how you fail. One of the thoughts, they're all, it doesn't matter. Just noticing the breath mind on those. Noticing the breath.:
Speaker 2:
49:03
Yeah.:
Speaker 3:
49:12
Okay, so now just let your mind go free that you go wherever it wants. Think about anything. No s anything, Eh, for it once a day and then in your very on time.:
Speaker 3:
49:59
That was a roller coaster ride through a bundle of different meditations and I aren't really meditation's about fault, but that meditation is where you become more familiar with thought. That's the whole purpose of it. If you make the purpose of meditation to become familiar with the mind, you can't go wrong. If you sit down and you get half an hour of mind wandering for a meditation, you're half an hour of mind wandering, better understanding your mind and if it's half an hour of under unhelpful mind wandering you, half an hour more comfortable with the uncomfortable mind wandering and then bit by bit by bit. You get comfortable with your inner processes and they they then they become Karma without a doubt. Just familiarity with them. It's like having a new neighbor, just spending time with the neighbors. Good. You get to learn their funny little ways and that's what we're doing with the mind and notice how it's got funny, really funny little ways. You know it. Often it does the opposite of what you want a lot of the time. Other times it does it and then it will change. It's, it's not called the monkey mind for nothing, and so it's just a matter of becoming familiar with it. Calm comes Karma. You become Karma. World becomes a better place.:
Speaker 1:
51:19
So hope you enjoyed that podcast. Don't forget to subscribe to whatever channel you use to get here. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to send them to me. Info at Bromley, mindfulness.org.uk all through any of the usual social channels. It's likes.:
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