Day 6: Can't Slow Down Your Thoughts? It's Normal!
The most common objection I hear to meditating is that "I don't have enough time," something we looked at on Day Four in this series.
The second most common objection is, "I can't slow my thoughts down," and that's what I'd like to explore today.
The truth is that ALL of our minds race, pretty much all day long, at the pace of a new thought every 1.5 seconds or so. But here's the thing: Every new thought is a release of something in your subconscious.
New thoughts are supposed to happen. We need them to happen, in fact. They're part of who we are, and what makes us healthy and human.
So how about we stop beating ourselves up over it? How about we not beat ourselves up over something that's actually normal?
How about, instead, we go into meditation and think, I see you, busy thoughts. I see that you’re there. I acknowledge you, and I’m grateful that you’re part of my normal, healthy world.
A funny thing starts to happen, in my experience. Through meditating I’ve come to know these thoughts. We’ve become friends! In fact I have a name for them. Allow me to introduce you.
I call them the whirling dervishes. And boy, do they whirl away, one after another after another. And I find myself saying to them, that’s a nice flourish today, Dervish. Or, how lovely your skirt twirls, Dervish. I see them, I acknowledge them, and in fact they bring all kinds of fascinating ideas into my mind. I am grateful for them, and I give them the space to whirl away.
But it does not mean – it does not mean – that I follow them. It does not mean that I want to flourish or twirl like them. It does not mean that I have to. All it means is that they’re there, and I see what they have to show me.
And then, slowly, those whirling dervishes whirl so much that they start to tucker out. All you have to do is sit, with patience, while that happens.
That’s when the second phase of meditation’s juiciness starts to happen. Meditating, and letting the whirling dervishes whirl, empties out the space. Once they whirl away, we’re a little more decluttered. We’re down to the basics, and to the essentials. We’re left with some clarity.
What’s left, what’s important, once the dervishes have whirled, is in my experience what’s actually important. What’s left is what I actually need to focus on. That’s what I actually need do. My to-do list rather suddenly decluttered, so that what’s left to do is what’s actually going to move the needle, whether as a writer or an entrepreneur, or as a wife or as a mother.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened my eyes after meditation and said, “Oh. So that’s what this is really about. And, oh. Now I get it.”
Who wants to give it a try?
Go for it and remember, please – don’t beat yourself up over the busy-ness of your thoughts. See them. Make friends with them, even. Let the whirling dervishes whirl.
And then go and DO what's left once they've tuckered out.
Let us know how it goes --
PS The blog of this series is up over on Beck's website, for your convenience and to revisit at your own pace. Enjoy!