Ever feel like you move through your day to the soundtrack of constant chatter? Like you’re listening to a permanent radio stream of your least favorite station?
It’s called mind chatter. Monkey mind. Inner gossip. And it’s part of being human. Everyone experiences the monkey mind to some degree, but for many of us, “noise” levels rise when stress levels rise or when we’re overbooked. The ironic thing is, the more mind chatter we experience, the less productive we’re able to be. But the more we have on our plates, the more mind pollution we encounter. Which issue do you deal with first … quieting the mind chatter or clearing the calendar?
Meditation is one way to manage the monkey mind. Once that calms down, we often notice we’re able to get more done, which leads to a quieter calendar.
We’re going to work with that radio inside your head for our meditation today.
This meditation can be done in whatever amount of time you have available. I recommend setting a timer for 10 minutes, but if you have less than five, take what you can get and give it a try in whatever amount of time you have free.
- Take one minute to settle into your seat and just take notice of where you are at the beginning. Start just by noticing and observing what’s going on in your body and your mind. Try not to judge anything you’re experiencing … just observe.
- Now bring your attention to your thoughts and notice what comes and goes. Continue being that silent observer of your mind.
- When the mind chatter arises (and it will,) just listen for a moment, as if your mind were a radio. See if your thoughts have a certain flavor or mood. Try to detach yourself from them, as if they were just something you were listening to on the radio.
- Try to imagine those thoughts getting softer, bit by bit. As if someone was slowly turning down the volume of your thoughts. They are still there, but they are in the background.
- Stay with it for another minute or five or 10, as you begin to build a deeper, more powerful breath. If the ujjayi breath is in your practice, begin to engage that. As you build an audible breath, notice how your breath competes with your thoughts for volume and attention. When you notice the volume of your thoughts getting louder, slowly twist the knob to the left, turning down the radio of your mind and bring focus back to the breath. Notice the back-and-forth as your mind chatter rises … then falls as you become aware and turn it down.
*My favorite book about winning the battle with the monkey mind is The Untethered Soul.