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October 10, 2013

What to do About the Ever-Wandering Mind?

A Wisdom Heart student asks, “What can I do about the ever-wandering mind?”

Celebrate that you’ve noticed the wandering.

This is what happens as you begin to practice. You notice the jumpy, ever-wandering, and restless nature of the mind. This can be a bit of a shock.

Before you began spiritual practice, this jumpiness and restlessness was there. But, it was operating below the threshold of conscious awareness. Un-noticed but fully active. Now, through practice, it becomes startlingly obvious.

When you sit down to practice, the mind kicks into ever-wandering mode. It can be disappointing. Frustrating. Notice this reaction to the wandering. Why?

Because this reaction is part of the wandering. If you allow the reaction, the disappointment, the frustration to take over, you’ll try to “fix” or “control” the mind. You’ll try to make it stop wandering. This doesn’t work.

Be mindful of the impulse to “fix” or “control” the mind.

This impulse to “fix” and “control” isn’t meditation. It’s manipulation at best. Suppression at worst. You can’t manipulate or suppress the mind into stillness, peace, balance.

Rather than try to “fix” the mind, return to the object of meditation.

Return to the object of meditation with gentleness and loving awareness. Through this gentle returning practice, the ever-wandering patterns of the mind naturally come to rest.

The mind comes to rest, not according to your expectations or time table. The mind comes to rest naturally, as you cultivate mindfulness and gently, gently, gently return to the object of meditation.

As the mind naturally comes to rest, something wondrous is revealed, something deeper than the ever-wandering tendencies. It’s the ever-still, ever-present, ever-awake awareness itself . . . ahhhhh.

 

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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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