Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Going Beyond the Noise

Ever More Subtle

Our world is noisy. It seems that no matter where we go there is a constant barrage of sound and other demands on our senses.

Often when we sit down to meditate we choose somewhere as quiet as we can to avoid any distractions. We close our eyes, the bell sounds, and then...

Well, often at that point we realize that our minds are just as noisy as the outside world. And our body aches. And we start worrying, or getting angry, or sad.

It is tempting at this point to start to think how terrible we are at meditation, that we can't even feel calm and quiet in a quiet place. And so despair or judgement can set in, only adding to the noise in our mind, body and heart.

Many people assume that experienced meditators don't have this same struggle. It is easy to assume that you are the only meditator in the world with a noisy mind, or aching joints. However, in reality more experience doesn't mean that these things go away. What is different is that the more experienced have learned how to work with the noisiness in their minds.

The key to working with our thoughts and sensations is not to try and block them out or wish they weren't there. Instead we choose to do three things - acknowledge, accept and let go.

By acknowledging a thought or sensation you just recognize that it is happening. Rather than trying to ignore it you just say 'this is the thought I am having' or 'I have discomfort in my knee right now'. Having acknowledged it you then accept it. You don't judge it, or wish that you weren't experiencing it, you simply recognize that this is what is going on for you right now. And having accepted it you let go. Again, you don't try and stop or suppress it, you simply let it slip from your focus as you return your attention to awareness of your breath.

The beauty of this simple process - acknowledging, accepting, letting go then returning to your breath - is that as you do so the noisiest thoughts and sensations slowly become quieter. And as they do we become aware of more subtle thoughts and sensations. And we can repeat the same process with these, becoming aware of ever more subtle thoughts, sensations and feelings, over and over again.

In the attached fully guided meditation we practice this simple process, allowing our minds to quieten and our awareness to become ever more subtle.

      



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photo credit: Captured Heart Light as a feather via photopin (license)

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