In the world of spiritual seeking, there’s this thing that’s constantly talked about – quieting the mind. And because I’ve never considered myself a spiritual seeker, my path to an awakened consciousness and a quieter mind has been quite different. The number one way spiritual seekers quiet the mind is through meditation. Having a meditative practice of shutting down the monkey mind, the part of us that jabbers away, reminding us about things we need to do, remembering things from our past (often painful things), and projecting into the future (often things that bring us worry).
Seekers sit quietly, in a place where they can be undisturbed for their meditative time, and focus on something like a mantra or their breath, until the monkey mind is quiet. For newbies, this can be an exercise in frustration, with their mind constantly wandering from this thought to the next, thinking about anything but being still, being quiet. Suddenly noticing something starting to itch, or twitch, or needing to stretch. But after a while of practicing, quieting the body and mind becomes easier and easier.
For some people, such as myself, most of the time when I try to meditate on my own, I fall asleep. However, when I’m guided, listening to someone, I don’t fall asleep, and I tend to do well. Many guided meditations are like little vacations, giving us a break from the stress of day-to-day life, giving us time when we’re focused on something other than our worries. Some guided meditations are designed to help us find something within us that’s uncomfortable or not working very well, and shift it. Shift our perspective and our energy field.
One of the things I experienced through my healing process, has been seeing the cause of our monkey mind, our stress, and quieting it little by little. I didn’t realize I was quieting my mind. In the beginning, I just wanted to get rid of a coping mechanism that wasn’t really working for me anymore.
Stress is a blanket term that medical doctors use for an uncomfortable feeling that’s felt both in the body and the mind. But they don’t know exactly what it is, where it comes from, or how to directly heal it without making lifestyle changes. They send people to counselors and therapists to help identify emotional triggers, but healing triggers, that happen at an unconscious level, using the conscious mind, is like trying to count the number of goldfish swimming at the bottom of a pond that’s completely clouded by mud.
We can’t solve problems by using the same mind that created them.
More and more, therapists are recognizing the benefits of meditation and are encouraging people practice it. With months and years of practice, people are able to let go of the thoughts that cause them stress more and more easily.
When I work with hypnotherapists, I have help quieting my body and focusing my mind by listening to what essentially is guided meditation, designed to relax. Once my body is relaxed and my mind focused (the chatter is gone), I’m asked to remember a feeling that has been an emotional trigger. In this state, I can feel the emotion in a detached manner such that my fight, flight, or freeze mechanism doesn’t react. I can be aware of feeling frustration, anger, sadness and fear without being enmeshed in them. Following the feeling back through time, to the earliest instance I ever felt it, is a common technique designed to find the initiation of a specific feeling.
The magic begins to happen when I arrive at the initiation of a feeling and see the part of me who created it in the first place. It’s always a part who’s very, very young (and a few times, I went so far back that I saw moments in previous lives). And it’s always a part of me that’s unhappy.
Using techniques based on parts therapy, I’m guided to shift my perspective into my younger self, my inner child. From her perspective, I hear her story. I see the scenario. I see my mother raging at me, and I’m having a very tough time dealing with the emotional pain. You see, in spirit we don’t experience emotions in the physical, visceral way we do in a body, and especially when you’re a very sensitive child as I was, being verbally attacked by my mother was excruciating.
I verbalize the feelings of this terrified inner child as she asks why her mother is treating her this way. “Why? Why does she hurt me?” The verbal assault feels like lightning strikes to my nervous system. And then this child’s truth becomes known. “Because I’m defective. There is something wrong with me.” It makes perfect sense. It’s completely logical. “Because I’m defective, Mom yells at me. It’s my fault.” With this belief in place, my inner child can rationalize fear and weather the attacks to come. And even comes to anticipate them, learning the different tone of voice in her mother that means to steer clear, don’t say anything, and do what she wants.
And then I shifted perspective into my wise adult self. “You, little one, weren’t defective. You were acting like a normal toddler. You wanted to do what you were doing and your mother wanted you to do something else. And when you didn’t do it, she flipped out, raging all over you. She was mentally ill and wasn’t well. It wasn’t your fault, and there was nothing wrong with you.”
Sometimes it took a little bit of persuading my inner child to come around to a different perspective, but as soon as she felt safe enough and loved, her perspective changed to that of my wise adult. Alchemy happened. In a hot minute, she dropped the belief she’d created, and knew deep in her bones that she was and is perfect. The knot that had kept her miserable for so many years was undone and her belief unraveled.
As she let go of the belief, there was a sudden epiphany that it wasn’t even her belief in the first place. It was her mother’s. My mother’s. My mother carried an unconscious belief that she was defective, most likely because she was bipolar and wasn’t diagnosed or treated until later in life. And my inner child picked up on it, taking it on as her own.
I realized that because we view life through our human brains, we all create a host of these types of beliefs when we’re very young, through day-to-day situations. And they don’t necessarily have to be “abusive” situations. As we grow and mature into individuals, they help our consciousness evolve, and help us survive this thing called life. Without them, life would become too painful to exist. We wouldn’t be able to conform to societal norms and expectations and thrive as human beings, and we’d die.
The thing is, when we reach maturity, these unconscious beliefs eventually no longer serve us. They become triggered through our daily life, by our children, by our family and friends, by work and a host of other things we deal with. Things we have to deal with. And when the really deeply held core beliefs of brokenness (being unacceptable, not enough, an embarrassment, stupid, ugly, fat, less-than, etc.) become deeply or repeatedly activated, our physical, mental/emotional health and our state of material abundance become affected.
The moment my inner child fully and completely realized she wasn’t defective after all, when her long-held belief dissolved, she began to get happy and dance around. Her new perspective of being perfect took on a sparkly, divine quality. She now recognized herself through the eyes of spirit. Through eyes of the Divine.
I began to notice a sense of inner peace that I hadn’t felt before. My restless, monkey mind and inner angst began to quiet with each session. And after having a number of sessions healing all sorts of emotional triggers, reconnecting with and healing bits of my inner child, I walked the world with more and more inner peace. And most surprisingly, there was a subtle tipping point when I began to know myself as Divine.
Quieting the mind is really about bringing our awareness, our focus into the here and now. And what makes the mind race around from the past, into the future, bringing up irritation to anger or sadness, and worry to outright fear? Our unconscious beliefs. The ones telling us we’re not good enough, we’re not safe, we screwed up, we’re not doing it right, and transferring these same sentiments onto those around us.
With practice, we can learn to quiet the mind through meditation, or find ways to heal what keeps coming up, the unconscious beliefs that are the source of all our stress.