Bombshell How-To: be at peace with your mind

October 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

I know what you’re expecting out of this: sit cross-legged on your finest $243 Anthropologie tuft and let life flow through you like water.  Quiet the mind…free your head of all thoughts…let your mind be still…

NOPE.  Actually, for someone learning to create peace in their own head, that concept of meditation can flat-out suck.

But Emily, mental silence is the only path to true inner peace…”

Ha.  HA!  Hate to disrupt your blissful mental silence, but I don’t buy it.

Meditation asks you to control something out of your control, in the name of peace. But have you ever tried controlling the weather, or traffic, or congress? Hardly peaceful. And not because either are inherently bad (seriously though, watch it, congress…), but because fighting to maintain control over the uncontrollable is a silly and unsustainable practice.  It’s like trying to stop the seasons from changing, or stop The Almighty Baby Goose from being perfect-looking.  It just can’t be done.

It’s the same with thoughts that pop up. You can’t stop your mind from forming thoughts/ideas/judgments based on the information it receives. But you can control what you do with those thoughts.

Think of your mind like the yappity yap person at the next booth. It’s not in your control whether or not that person is yapping away, or what she’s yapping about.  But traditional, thought-free meditation essentially gives you one option: block her out - will yourself to not hear her.  But the real truth is that you have so many more options than to merely try to shut her out.

For example, you can ask her questions, disagree with her, agree with her, offer a different perspective, choose not to internalize what she says, ask her to quiet her voice or change the conversation. You might even go engage in conversation with her for a bit (she may be willing to blow your mind with her insight, if you let her). She may even choose to change her tune just because you sat with her and listened openly for a bit.

Do you see what I’m getting at here?  Turning off your mind is not peace, it’s a coma.  There are so many wonderful things you can do with your mind.  So many ways you can interact with your thoughts to bring yourself more joy, more enlightenment, more ultimate, lasting peace.  Why shut that all out?

I’m not discounting thought-free meditation here.  Sitting in mental silence can be a delicious practice, and putting your brain on pause can be just as enlightening as tuning in.  What I am discounting is the notion that peace can only mean silence.  Oh hell naw.

Peace comes from a sound, open relationship with your mind. From knowing that whatever curveball of a thought life springs into your consciousness, you and your mind can work together to make it okay.

That’s the real om, baby.