Two Stories to Help Quiet Your Mind

 At work I sit in front of the computer, when I go home I sit while having dinner, and then I sit to play video games or watch Anime. So when I take time to relax my mind I don’t want to be still, I want to move!

Regardless of my aversion to sitting still, I believe that meditation is important and after I got more and more interested in Buddhist philosophy recently I decided to try again. The first step for me was to make it a habit.  I knew that if I wanted this habit to stick, consistency was key. So I decided to start simple, every morning after I woke up I would take a shower first to make sure I am awake and immediately afterwards I would sit for 5 minutes.

After a week I noticed that 5 minutes began to feel too short; every time my alarm would go off I would think, ”Hmm… I’d like to sit a while longer.” So the next day I tried 8 minutes, and now 2 weeks later I am at 20-25 minutes.

quiet the mind

The things I try to focus on are breathing and sound, because to me these are the easiest ones to pay attention to. My mind often wanders off, but I try not to worry about it. Here are some nice stories I read on how to deal with thoughts.

  1. The first one I read in a Dutch Magazine called Happinez: Meditation is like sitting on a bench in a park. When you sit there you will see all kinds of things and people walk by, and in meditation these people are your thoughts. Instead of getting up and shake their hands just keep sitting on the bench and observe them as they pass.
  2. The second one is from Ajahn Brahm, a Buddhist monk in Western Australia: Many people want to still the mind. But their technique is like holding a cup of water and trying to hold it very still and stable so that the water doesn’t move. Instead, it is much easier to just LET GO of the cup… set it down and the water inside will naturally be still.

So where am I trying to get with meditation? And what am I trying to achieve? The answer to these two questions is “nowhere” and “nothing”. I am not trying to get anywhere, I just want to be here… right here in the present moment.

In one of the old Taoist texts there is a verse that says 虽名得道 实无所得, which means “although one has attained the Dao, in reality he didn’t attain anything”. By meditating you are not trying to get anything, quite opposite actually…you are losing things. You lose attachment, desires and expectations…you become a real loser J

Writing about this makes me want to meditate again! What are your experiences when you first started meditating? Share them below!

Jimmy

About Jimmy

Although I am a young guy from the Netherlands, I am often compared to being an old traditional Chinese man from the 80's. Hobbies include practicing Taijiquan and Qigong, reading Chinese philosophy, studying Chinese language and mountain climbing. The comparison is still a mystery to me...

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