Meditation is a technique used to still the mind.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take your mind, like loose change out of your pocket, and just place it on a dresser? That utter silence and stillness. That constant ‘yimmer yammer’, as I like to call it, ceases. What bliss! But for anyone who has ventured into the practice of stilling the mind…, you know it is no easy feat.
Since birth, we are taught to examine and verify things in our external world. We aren’t taught to explore the inner landscape. I often wonder how the world would be if the quest for inner awareness was celebrated with more enthusiasm.
A challenge that many face when beginning their Hero’s Journey into ‘the self’ is ‘how’ to meditate. There are many ways. Gazing into a candle, mantras, counting, watching your breath, walking meditation, guided meditations…and on and on. For me there is no ‘one’ way to still the mind. It is what works for you.
I’ve tried many ways to calm my ‘yimmer yammer’. Nothing seemed to work until one day, I was laying under a fabulous oak tree on a blanket staring up through the branches watching the wind. In Los Angeles we get the yearly Santa Ana winds that roll off the mountain and tumble through the valley in huge gusts and whip through the streets. I love watching this amazingness!!
So, I’m lying under the tree watching the wind. There would be big gusts and then stillness. Sometimes a bit of a breeze would move the branches and then the tree would almost bend in half by a rolling wave of wind. I was transfixed. I must’ve been watching for an hour when, out of nowhere, I realized my mind had been quiet. Really quiet. I was in a blissful state of stillness while watching what felt like the earth's BREATH!
It dawned on me that our mind is like the wind. Like thought, no one knows where the wind begins and where it ends. Sometimes there’s stillness, sometimes a gentle breeze, and sometimes a storm, like our thoughts.
Once I realized I had stumbled onto a new form of meditation for myself, I would go outside daily, lay under the tree, and wait for the wind. Wind-Watching became a favorite past time. It brought me back to when I was a kid again – always laying in the grass in the front yard.
If you have had trouble finding a mediation that works for you, try going out into nature. It’s incredibly healing in and of itself. Let the alchemy of the elements still your mind. Find a spot that speaks to you. It doesn’t have to be wind. Maybe water speaks to you. Staring into the ocean listening to the waves. Maybe fire speaks to you. Listening to the crackle of a camp fire. Get creative. There are many ways to still the mind. Wind watching found me. I wonder what will find you.