Our bodies cannot truly relax until our minds learn to relax; and the mind never seems to relax. Some people do problem-solving permutations in their dreams, and they wake up exhausted. Some simply can’t sit still because their minds are racing and they have to get up and do something. This is traditionally referred to as the monkey mind. When we take the time to observe the mind, we see it is like a monkey in a cage – darting here and jumping there making a lot of noise.
See for yourself. Close your eyes and focus on one thing. Your task is to simply sit and observe the rising and falling of the breath for just a minute. Inhaling, feel the expansion of the chest; exhaling, feel the lungs emptying out. Your eyes are closed and you’re sitting still so there is nothing to distract you from this simple task of watching the rising and falling of the breath. After a breath or two, you may think, “Ah, this is simple.” That’s it – the mind is off and running. What a stupid thing to be doing.” “I wonder what I’ll have for dinner tonight.” “Oops, I forgot the breath. Okay, I can do it this time.” “In…out…in…I can’t believe what my friend said yesterday.”
Meditating, visualizations, breathing, silence, and mantras are all tools that can help in deepening the stillness of the mind. Stillness is a place of deep listening and awareness. It is also a place of profound peace. As you walk through a woods the birds become quiet, but when you stop, relax, and wait, the birds will accept your presence and share their true songs with you. So it is with hearing the still small voice within.
It is essential to slow down the mind and stop the inner chatter and settle into the heart of stillness. Buddha said, “When the world dissolves, everything becomes clear.” The quieter you can be, the more will be revealed.