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“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~ Buddha
He thoroughly enjoyed my company and asked me if he could stay with me, as my “roommate.”
At first, it was fun to live with him. He had some great thoughts, but gradually I started relying on him for everything. I started losing my identity.
And with time, he started dominating me. He would misread every situation and give me unwanted advice. Surprisingly, I would listen to his nonsense without thinking about what I wanted.
He started interfering in every aspect of my life, be it my relationship, my finances, and even how I saw myself.
The worst thing was that he would never cooperate.
He had something to say about everything and everyone. I was never alone—I lived with a 24/7 chatterbox.
The day I realized where I had gone wrong, I decided to free myself from his negativity. I started observing his behavior and would sit quietly, watching him talk.
Was it easy?
No. But I was trying every day.
I remember once, my husband was a bit late coming home from work. My roommate had a lot to say about that: “Why is he is not picking up the call? Is he partying somewhere and ignoring you? Does he really care about you? I hope everything is fine with him.”
I was alert enough to analyze what he was saying, so I discarded his opinion. Later, my husband informed me that the subway was running late and his phone was on silent mode.
When my roommate started realizing that he was being watched, his behavior started changing.
He started creating less chaos.
Aha! It felt wonderful to get my kingdom back. I could observe him without getting lost in his chatter. Sometimes, I would even ask him to keep quiet or go away.
He still talks nonsense sometimes, but he’s less of a chatterbox now. In fact, he now tries to be a good friend of mine. And the best thing is that I have finally taken back control of my life.
This roommate—this inner roommate—is my mind.
I observe it daily when I meditate.
Since I’ve become more conscious, I am able to recognize the negativity and change it to become a happier, more calm, more positive person.
I have been meditating for more than two years, and these are the tools that have helped me start and maintain my practice:
>> I imagine a blank screen in front of my closed eyes, and I imagine my thoughts as rats. My aim is to catch as many rats as possible in the next 10 minutes. Sometimes, I forget that I have to catch them and I try to get along with them, but as soon as I remember, I start again.
>> For a quick, one-minute meditation, I count from 1 to 60 with my eyes closed and observe how the numbers are changing.
>> I sit for five minutes and say, “Now, Now,” with a pause in my mind. It reminds me of the current moment.
>> I bought a clock that makes that “tik-tok” sound. In the evening, I sit in the room with that clock and calmly listen to its sound.
>> I try to be mindful of my walking. Once a day, while I am walking from one room to another, I observe my steps. Though it’s not for a long duration, it cultivates the habit of mindfulness.
Most of the time, people think that the mind should be immediately still on their first meditation attempt. I have friends who said they stopped meditating because they couldn’t keep their mind calm. But, if our mind is always calm, why would we need meditation?
We don’t have be a yogi or a Buddhist to practice meditation. What’s important is that we’re persistent and gentle with ourselves. With time, we will see a positive change in our life and our choices.