Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Value of an Empty Mind

Isn't your mind mostly full, most of the time? Mine is. I run the to-do lists. Think about the family calendar. Think about what someone said recently or something I heard on the radio. I am always in a conversation in my head. I challenge you to become aware of your thoughts over the next 24 hours. Spend a day watching your thoughts and see what you see. I think you will be surprised how busy your mind actually is!

One thing I notice with my kids in school this year (after homeschooling for Grades 1-3), is that a big chunk of their day is filled with filling their minds. Facts and processes about letters, numbers, nature, art. "Listen. We're telling you something. You need to know this to make it in the world." This is the message schools give.

But here is the problem: The incessant chatter inhibits another whole level of thought processing.

An empty mind is a beautiful mind. Instead of having to focus on a task (listening to someone talk or working out a problem linearly), an empty mind can engage in more abstract thought and take illogical jumps from one place to another. Achieving an empty mind takes time. It takes s l o w i n g down and that's hard. Lately I have to take a whole day. It starts in the morning with time keeping my body busy- washing dishes, running, driving about the town running errands. Then I eat lunch and make some tea. My living room couch has often been my place to slow down my mind. I put on some mind-numbing music. The kind that acts as white noise to the myriad of thoughts. Something with an om or a repetitive beat that acts like a trance.

The state of an empty mind is a trance; a form of meditation; an altered state of consciousness. It's not simply daydreaming. From this place there are other ways of experiencing thought. The conversations at this level of consciousness are not about the physical world or the network of society. It's a slower pace or as some might say, a higher level of vibration. This place is a whole new world. From here creative thought-- the form of original ideas can happen. From this place I can take stock of my life and see what I want to change or appreciate. From this place I can connect with spirit and flow freely in a universal pool of love.

Children need this too. For a child, the empty mind means a chance to ask her own questions. To explore how things work and how things could work if there were no laws of physics. It is a opportunity for creative expression, but also a chance to connect to a larger space and place- to hear her own guides and know her place in a world beyond this one. It's like connecting to home at a soulful level.

To often we think that a full mind, a busy mind, is a productive one. Well that's not true. An empty mind has it's own kind of productivity: it fills your emotional cup, connects you to your larger sense of being and allows you to just simply be- right now, loved and valued for you.

After you watch your busy mind for 24 hours, I challenge you: take an hour and *allow* your mind to empty out. No immediate acting on good ideas. No TV. No directing meditation CDs. I would suggest rhythmic and repetitive music though. Just allow your mind to empty. Don`t push on it. Don`t pull. Just let it be. Remember to set your intention to have this empty-mind experience, but not fall asleep. Start with sitting up. Then just let the thoughts come and then let them go.

When you feel a conversation starting, get a pen. Write down one or two words or more if they come to mind. Play and see what happens. This is the place of your intuitive voice. This is the place of a new experience in the way of being.


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