If you have struggled with either finding peace of mind or starting/maintaining a consistent meditation practice then these are probably the same truths that you believe to be myths. They’re likely the same truths that are keeping you from finding a peace of mind or a meditation practice. I would like to clear the air for you in hopes that it will propel you forward.
After numerous conversations with people, I have taken notice of the same reasons that keep coming up as to why they apparently can’t meditate or find peace of mind.
Myth/Truth #1: “I can’t stop thinking”
If you attempt to meditate or find peace of mind by means of stopping your thinking then you will be thoroughly disappointed, to the point that you will most likely want to quit.
Think of your thoughts travelling on a never-ending conveyor belt, doing loop, after loop, after loop. This conveyor belt doesn’t have an off button, nor does it even have a pause button, it loops infinitely.
Each time the conveyor belt comes around to you, it brings with it a random set of thoughts.
Some thoughts may be the same as you had just 1 minute ago.
Others may be regurgitated thoughts you had hours, days, weeks, months, or even years ago.
While other thoughts may be brand new, never ever seen before.
This conveyor belt runs on an infinite power source, as does your conscious awareness. This power source never dies. Even when you’re dead and your conscious awareness is no longer brought to life, this infinite conveyor belt will continue to run, supplying thoughts to the conscious awareness of others.
Nobody knows where these thoughts come from, some say God, some say the divine, some say our creator, some say the universal life force etc. What we do know is that they appear seemingly out of nowhere, like the magic of pulling a rabbit out of an empty hat.
Since we can’t stop the conveyor belt that delivers our thoughts, can we at least control it?
Myth/Truth #2: “I can’t control my thinking”.
If you meditate or search for peace of mind by means of controlling your thinking, once again, you will be thoroughly disappointed.
Now that you know your thinking will never stop so long as you’re alive and consciously aware, the next logical step for many people is trying to assert some form of control over them. This too, my friend, is a big myth.
This attempt to gain control typically comes from trying to choose which thoughts get placed on the conveyor belt or slow the conveyor belt down to slow down the rate at which your thoughts get delivered.
Just as we have zero control over being able to stop thoughts from popping into our head, we have zero control over which thoughts pop into our head.
You may now be starting to realize that you were never in control in the first place, that you just thought you were. This can be a very startling and mind-bending experience.
Surely we can slow down our thoughts, right? As far as I know, we can’t. However, we can most certainly create the illusion that our thoughts have slowed down.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “time flies when you’re having fun”. Time appears to speed up during those moments. Yet, when you’re bored time appears to slow to a crawl. This is the grand illusion of time.
When we’re stressed, panicked, overwhelmed, or in any similar state of mind, we are under this illusion that our thoughts are racing at a much faster pace than normal. Confusion tends to set in and we’re bouncing back and forth between thoughts.
When we’re peaceful, happy, content, or in any similar state of mind, we are under this illusion that our thoughts are slowed.
We can drive two different cars at the same speed and feel like we’re going faster in one car, and slower in the other. How is this possible? We use cues such as noise and vibration to estimate the speed of the car.
We use similar cues when we feel like our thoughts are moving faster or slower. When we’re in a state of stress our thoughts appear quite noisy, creating the illusion that noise equals speed. When we’re in a state of peace our thoughts appear to be much quieter, giving us the illusion that quiet equals slow.
Now That You Know This…
I hope this helps cut through the illusion of these two myths. Keep in mind that you are to observe your thoughts, you’re not trying to control them or stop them. The paradox here is that you gain some sense of control by relinquishing your attempt to control.
By understanding that we were never in control in the first place and still made it this far, seems pretty amazing considering we were probably oblivious to this all our lives.
How can this understanding change your life now that you are aware of it?
Learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.