Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Learning to Calm Our Minds

My teacher, Dr. Chuck Bruni, used to explain to me the advantages of a 'quiet mind.' He asked me, too many times to count, whether I would want to try to solve a complex problem while sitting in a quiet library or in the midst of Grand Central Station.

Having been to Grand Central Station... I understand that to try to do any complex thinking there, especially at 'rush hour' would be virtually impossible.

My teacher's point was that our minds often resemble Grand Central Station. Full of noise and chaos, we find it difficult to think clearly and respond to our lives in a calm and thoughtful manner.

Learning to calm our minds, and restore a state similar to a 'library' is a worthwhile endeavor. Meditation is on of the most effective ways to do this. Repetitive 'training' of the mind, to learn to turn off the jumbled through processes is a powerful undertaking.

It the movie, "For Love of the Game," Kevin Costner plays a succesful major league baseball player. He had a ritual that he performed whenever he would go to the mound to pitch. He would work to get himself into a zone by saying, "Clear the mechanism..." meaning to clear his mind of all distraction and extraneous processes, so he could focus on the task at hand. Brilliant.

I use that line sometimes when I'm attempting to refocus my mind in the midst of some sort of overload or chaos. I am often able to do this, but it didn't 'just happen.' I've spent years meditating (either focusing on my breating, or using a mantra silently in my head).

Cultivating this ability is what allows us to pull it out when we really need it.

There are unlimited approaches to learning to tame the mind or calm the inner world of thought. Buddhist mindfulness meditation is one of my personal favorites, but there are many others.

I encourage you to find one that works for you and stick with it. Start small, with just a few minutes a day and build from there. Learning to calm your mind 'on demand' is an important life skill. To be able to step out of Grand Central Station and into the quiet libray can catapult your life into a new level!!

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