Settling Down the Mind

Getting the mind to settle down from agitated thoughts is lot like getting a child to go to sleep. You can’t just order them to go to sleep that they’ll do it. Well, you can’t just order your mind to be still and expect it to.

Just like the kid, you have to progressively relax the mind.

Certain routines, even rituals may be helpful. When I put my kids to sleep, the brush teeth, read a book, do a little meditation, hug and kiss, then listen to some music. Doing the same thing puts the mind in mood for sleep.

The same can also be used in the opposite direction. Before a game, teams get a pep talk, circle up, do a chant, all to get themselves psyched up for the match or game.

Well, you can use the same kind of ritual for your meditation. We don’t do rituals to appease Gods, we do rituals because of their effect on us. Find a particular spot, getting out the cushion, lighting incense, doing a little chanting. All of those things can put you in mind to meditate. And all of them GAIN in power the more you use them.

Also like putting kids to bed, the pace needs to be slow, and the attitude needs to be gentle and content. HOW you do the ritual is as important as what you do. Do you rush through the bedtime story, yell at them to brush faster, and then play speed metal for them to sleep to? Well, it doesn’t work. You can’t rush your way to sleep, and you can’t rush your way to a good meditation.

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