Create a flow – not a dam: How to deal with the mind chatter

One of the readings I will be sharing this week when I teach comes from David Kundtz’s book The Quiet Mind. He notes in one of the chapters how tough it can be for us to quiet the mind, especially when we plop down on our mat and are told to “clear the mind,” “make space” or “let go of any thoughts.” You’ve likely been told all of these things, and many other statements that may seem pretty cliché or trite in the moment as the thoughts simply keep coming. So what to do?

First of all, recognize that it is fairly impossible to clear your mind, at least for most of us living in modern society. However, you can learn how to deal with the chatter. The author’s suggestions for how to do this are pretty good. He noted that it is key to not get discouraged, and then to focus on your breath. Maybe that suggestion has come your way before, but what he says next I find to be very valuable. “Allow the chatter to come in, notice it, and allow it to continue out, thus creating a flow rather than a dam.”  Right on David! I love this suggestion – a flow rather than a dam! Find some rhythm with the thoughts, link the thoughts with your breath, and then ride the wave!

If meditation is new to you, don’t try to perfect it day one, only to get frustrated and give up. Instead, remember that any activity you’ve likely engaged in took practice to get good. So, begin with setting a timer for three minutes a day and simply let the chatter come, and then create your flow. When this gets easier, increase your time by adding another minute, and then another.

Steven Harrison noted that “Perhaps what becomes most clear when we do nothing is that thought keeps on going, as though we were doing something.” Ride the wave my friends and create that flow with your thoughts.


Published August 28, 2017