What happens in your mind is a reflection of what happens in your life.
If your life is very active, stressful and hectic, naturally this reflects in your mind and creates a flow of ongoing thoughts.
Thoughts are okay, but when they come in the form of endless worries, doubts and fears, you want of course to learn to still the mind and bring some peace in the inner levels.
There are two conflicting directions here:
· The outer reality forces you to be active.
It stimulates you to respond to stress and actually feed it even more by setting up goals, targets and competing in the business world for instance.
These external pressures are very real. For instance, you are trained to compete from a very young age.
It is one of the key driving forces in society and pushes you to perform better in life.
So basically, these external pressures are positive forces because they stimulate you to look deeper in yourself and develop better skills.
This can happen in your professional field, in your love life, or any other aspect of your existence.
So, this is clear: your life is usually very active.
· The second direction is about wanting to find peace.
This is not a “worldly” target.
It has to do with your spiritual development.
When you focus on meditating, you set up yourself on a path of inner discovery and self realization. Sometimes, these goals enter in conflict with external or worldly priorities.
Now, your mind is like a screen: the thoughts and emotions which are projected on it are simply a reflection of what goes on in your life.
If you want to quiet these thoughts (these reflections), you want to quiet their source: your life!
Thoughts and emotions are waves on the surface of your mind. They are a simple reflection.
Trying to mask them is like trying to mask the reflection of a mountain on the water.
The best way to quiet your thoughts is to quiet your life and all its activity.
You want to tackle the source, not the reflection.
Meditation gives you clarity on what is truly happening in your life.
If your mind is very active, this means that many aspects of your existence require your attention.
Thoughts and emotions are like elemental forms which reflect this outer activity in your life.
So, what to do?
Suppose that you want to meditate and your mind is very active. You simply can’t concentrate.
What can you do about it?
Can you still bring peace in your mind while there is all this activity going on with your physical existence?
In most cases, if you want to succeed with mediation, you need to combine external action with spiritual practice.
Focusing on your inner reality only is not enough.
When your mind is very active, it means that your life is calling for attention.
What kind of attention? Harmonization.
If you face this challenge, it is better to shorten your meditations and find out exactly what you thoughts are telling you.
Where are these thoughts coming from?
What are they saying?
When you listen, you give attention and this naturally quiets the mind.
If the story these thoughts are telling you are none of your concern, then you have to teach your mind something new.
Suppose for instance that you worry a lot about something which is out of your hands.
These thoughts are an invasion of your inner space.
To get rid of unwanted thoughts, you need extra power.
You realize that being able to quiet unwanted thoughts has to do with mind mastery.
The long term goal is to get to work in total partnership with your mind. Your mind is your greatest ally. It is your tool. And you are its master
When you meditate, you use your taming power.
If your mind stays too active, it is either that your taming force is not strong enough or that your technique or approach is not adapted.
Of course there is a third possibility that we discussed in the beginning of this chapter which says that an aspect of your life truly needs attention.
Thoughts and emotions are simply the way your spirit tells you to attend to an aspect of your life.
It tells you that something is being created and that your attention or energy is needed.
The best strategy to deal with this spiritual challenge is not to ignore the thoughts and emotions which come to your mind; it is to listen to them and identify where they come from.
Simply trying to suppress them without listening usually creates an inner conflict which is the situation in which many seekers get trapped.
If this is the situation you are in, you usually try to force yourself into a rigid discipline and don’t seem to progress.
If this is your case, try listening instead. You’ll be amazed of what happens when you do.
This would definitely be the first step.
More on this topic in other advices