How often are you able to quiet your mind and access the silence that arises when thoughts cease? This state of mental emptiness provides many benefits. In this post I will highlight three opportunities associated with inner tranquility:
The ability to let go
The possibility of accessing new information and
The opportunity to move in a different direction
When we become quiet, we interrupt or short-circuit energies that are incompatible with that state. Gradually, the electro-magnetics that hold well-established patterns in place weaken enough that we can simply let go.
For example, a client shared an experience of arguing with her spouse about their finances. After she described the situation, we sat for a few minutes in silence. During the stillness she noticed how strongly she was pushing against her husband’s perspective. Breathing into this new awareness, her tension softened enough that she was able to release her resistance.
Accessing New Information
When the mind quiets, the absence of thought creates space for new knowledge to arise. It is as if the silence on the surface of awareness opens a doorway to information teeming beneath the surface. In the example of my client, the quiet contributed to a softening of resistance. It also unlocked deeper feelings of grief. In addition, it released fear that had been too overwhelming to face when their finances changed.
Moving in a Different Direction
Paradoxically, a quiet mind allows movement in a different direction because it reverberates in stillness. Think of a ball that has been tossed into the air. At first, it moves upward. Then there is a moment of pause before it begins falling back to the ground. During that moment of pause, it is much easier to push the ball in a new direction compared to when it is moving upward or falling down.
Similarly, every aspect of our lives is in motion. When we quiet our thoughts, we access a still point from which we can more easily initiate a new course of action. Since our outer lives reflect our inner experience, the interior adjustments that we make from the still point eventually show-up in our attitudes, actions, relationships and experiences.
For my client, after feeling the grief surrounding all that had been lost, she could stand with her husband rather than rail against him. She could also address her fear. The change in her perspective provided a new platform from which she and her husband could work together to respond to their newly challenging financial situation.
Quieting the Mind
When I first began meditating, I read about an approach that has been of great assistance to me. While I cannot remember the author, I do remember the practice:
Imagine that your thoughts are like the cars of a train.
Slow your thoughts until you can see through the gap between the cars.
As each gap passes by, gaze into the territory beyond the train of your thoughts.
If possible, pause your thoughts.
Allow your awareness to step between the cars, into the vastness beyond the train.
This is the place of emptiness where all potential resides. This is where you can access the possibilities that emerge from inner tranquility.
Train photo by Scribblebug; flickr.com