Although you arrived here wondering how to quiet your mind, I will talk less about the “how-to” and direct you more toward that which you already know how to do. Don’t get me wrong, meditation and certain techniques are great, but what if you didn’t need a strategy every time you wanted to quiet your mind? What if all you need to know is how the mind really works?
Meditation Works But…
I meditate every morning for 15-20 minutes (30 minutes if you include Yoga), so I’m all for meditation as part of a daily routine. Meditation does help to quiet the mind, however, I don’t meditate with a goal to quiet the mind. I meditate to connect with my highest self, with the universe.
Meditating every morning over the past 18 months has taught me a lot about how the mind really works. One thing I learned is that I don’t want to have to meditate every time I want to quiet a noisy mind. If I’m driving and my mind won’t shut up, I don’t think to start a meditation, nor do I want to pull over to practice meditation in hopes of quieting my noisy mind.
All I want is to continue driving while enjoying a little more peace.
I’m sure you can also think of many situations where it is not conducive to initiate a meditation practice. You need something simpler and more practical.
What About NLP Techniques?
Similar to meditation, NLP techniques can be effective for quieting the mind. NLP focuses heavily on manipulating the mind into receiving the desired result.
One of the techniques NLP teaches us to use is to treat our mind like a movie playing within a movie theatre. We can then manipulate the colours, maybe brighten or dim them, maybe change it to greyscale.
Then we have the sound of the movie. We can change the voices to sound like a munchkin, or maybe your favourite cartoon character. The characteristic of the movie that will be most appealing when trying to quiet your mind is the volume. We can increase the volume or decrease the volume.
It does work, but I find it only works for a very short period of time. Those booming thoughts want to be heard. So what happens, the volume seems to uncontrollably start ramping itself back up without our permission
You Already Know How To Quiet Your Mind
(you just didn’t think it could be this simple)
Have you ever been to a concert or a party and held a conversation with the person next to you, despite the booming base?
Have you ever been driving while completely tuning out the song on the radio in order to listen to the thoughts in your head?
Have you ever been driving while being completely immersed in thought only to hear your favourite song come on so you decide to tune out those thoughts and listen to your song?
Have you ever been hard at work while your co-worker is telling you a story you could give two shits about so you decide not to hear a word they say and focus on your work?
What were you able to do in each of those situations?
You were able to tune out what you didn’t want to listen to, what you didn’t want to pay attention to.
Imagine your mind as the booming bass.
Imagine your mind as the song on the radio.
Imagine your mind as the words of your co-worker.
You don’t have to listen to your mind just because it’s your mind. If it has nothing appealing to say at the moment then tune it out, stop paying attention to it.
It’s only the thoughts we pay attention to that make noise.
Use your free will and choose the thoughts you actually want to pay attention to.
We’ve all been born with the innate ability to choose our thoughts. We don’t choose which thoughts pop into our head but we do get to choose which ones we pay attention to. Choose to give attention to the thoughts that serve you and practice tuning out the rest.
This is where meditation can become useful. Having a daily meditation practice can help you practice tuning out your thoughts.
You’ll Never Stop Thinking So Don’t Get Your Hopes Up
When many people are on the search for how to quiet their mind they seem to be searching for a remedy to stop thought completely. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, this will never happen.
Even the greatest Monks and Eastern spiritual Gurus will never stop their minds from thinking. What they are good at is tuning out their mind at will. Tuning out does have a settling effect in the mind so your thoughts will become clearer and more spacious.
The mind works like a radio that doesn’t have an off button, since you can’t turn it off you just have to learn to tune in when you want to listen and tune out when you don’t.
And remember, you know how to do it, don’t make it more complicated than it is.