Inside the head of a meditator

Inside the head of a meditator

When you observe a person meditating, all looks calm and serene.  Well, looks can be deceiving!  Unless you are looking at an experienced, well-seasoned meditator, it’s most likely not all calm and serene in there. 

See, the purpose of meditation is to step away from the constant ramblings of the mind.  When we are going about our daily business, we let our mind do whatever it wants to and most of the time we’ll do what it tells us to.  For example, the mind says:  “Eat chocolate”.  You’re not hungry and you don’t even have any chocolate, but your mind is not going to quit saying “chocolate” until you actually find some and satisfy that craving.  Annoying, isn’t it?  Or, your mind wants to think about something that happened two years ago and it keeps bringing up the thought, like a continuous tape recording. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to suppress those thoughts while you’re awake and doing daily tasks, but still you can distract yourself with other doings.  Imagine sitting still with NO distractions.  Hmmmm.  That’s what meditation is.  You keep watching the thoughts in your mind until they finally get fed up and go away.  Thoughts travel in packs, too.  You let one come in and others will follow. 

Here’s how a meditation sitting might sound (from inside the head of a meditator):

“Relax, breathe deep, watch your breath.  Don’t let the mind wander.  In…. out…….out. Hmmm this feels nice. Relaxed, calm.  Uh, I think we’re almost out of coffee, gotta add that to the list.  I like coffee.  Do I get too much caffeine?  Be quiet, focus on the breath, but don’t forget to add coffee to the list. 

Breathe in and out, focus on the breath…. Man, I’ve got so much to do, why am I sitting here breathing?  Oh yes, it’s to get rid of you – mind.  I want control of my life.  Now stop arguing with me so I can properly meditate.  Don’t forget coffee.

Breathe…… I miss mom and dad.  Wish I could have introduced them to meditation, I think mom would have been fascinated.  She probably wouldn’t have meditated, maybe would have just been fascinated with it.  Breathe one, breathe two ….. damn it’s hard not to think!  Focus, you can do it. “

At this point in time, probably 10 minutes or so into meditation, the mind will settle down if you just watch the thoughts and don’t get carried away with them.  So after a few minutes of quiet stillness in the head, here it goes again:

“It sure is cool this morning.  Reminds me of the camping trip to Colorado last year.  I didn’t get cold in the camper though.  Sure was a fun trip….. STOP!!!!   Not going to follow you into the vacation replay, mind!!”

I’ve shared this experience with Avi, and he says it’s very normal and that even experienced meditators have random thoughts to squelch during meditations.  They’ve just been practicing long enough to be able to step away from the thoughts much quicker.  It just takes time. 

I’m only one year into meditation and have been intensely (4 hours per day) meditating for 10 months now and I can say that the periods of absolute quiet, no thoughts in my head are simply “wow” and amazing.  It’s like a drink of water after a long hike on a hot summer day.  Right now I’m working my way through the brush and brambles to get to the cool drink of water!

Share with friends

A day of silence

A day of silence

My spiritual journey began, in a serious way, about a year ago.  When I say serious, I mean meditating for several hours a day and studying with a spiritual teacher (Avi) for guidance.  I listen to his talks twice a day and am always on the lookout for ways to deepen my spiritual quest……


I can’t say that I talk a lot, but I do talk—I’m a woman!  Supposedly women speak two to three times more than men do. Maybe it’s because we’re more intelligent, hence we’ve got more to share— lol!  So, a couple of weeks ago we decided to have a day of silence. Yes.  Silence.  One whole day.

Most of it wasn’t that difficult. Since I have lived by myself so many years, I have no trouble being alone and not speaking.  I do converse with the dogs throughout the day, and when I’m with the chickens or the bees—yes, I’m talking.   I do have arguments and discussions with myself, but those are normally internal.  Occasionally words slip out, but mostly the discussion is within.  So, although it wasn’t difficult, it was still very different than a normal day.

 Several observations were made during the day:

I really talk a lot more than I thought I did. Several—SEVERAL—times during the day I found myself ready to open my mouth and spout out an observation I had or a thought that I wanted to share, and I had to remember—keep your mouth shut!

Most of the things said during a typical day are just not necessary. The world is too full of noise, and I discovered that I was contributing to my own noise.  By not speaking for one day I realized that most of what I was saying was just unnecessary babble. 

I found myself just ignoring other people around me because I couldn’t talk to them. Maybe that was my way of not tempting myself to speak, maybe I need to work on my nonverbal communication skills.  

I found it liberating! To be with someone and not have to come up with something to say—you know what I’m talking about!  It’s so nice just to be with someone and be quiet without that uncomfortable feeling of silence.  When everyone knows that it is a “quiet day”, it’s an amazing feeling of freedom. 

The one time during the day when I did have to say something was while someone was helping me take down a set of scaffolding and he was zigging with the walk board and I was zagging with him, so I had to whisper the words “keep it in the center” to avoid a possible injury. Other than that, no words were spoken all day long.

This exercise is supposed to help quiet the mind as well.  I can see where that would work if one were to practice silence on a regular basis, say one or two days a week.   If carefully planned, a day of silence per week would be totally do-able as long as the folks around you are okay with it.  I’ll be adding “less talking” to my repertoire of spiritual tools.

The wonderful song from the 70’s was right—“Silence is Golden”.

Share with friends

Pin It on Pinterest