I hear it all the time, ‘I can’t meditate’ or ‘My brain won’t quit’. I used to say it all the time as well. Our mind is a tool meant to create, destroy, probe, mimic and generally be active.I have always enjoyed the imagery of your mind being an infant.

Without care, discipline, and nourishment it becomes unfocused, wild, unproductive, and sometimes violent or aggressive. If we keep it fed and acknowledge it, work with it consistently, it calms down. It may seem quieter, more disciplined and showing signs of growth, but it is still an infant and infants are prone to random outbursts.

Your mind is a tool, as such to serve you better it will wander off and imagine things that are ghastly, or distinctly not us. That’s fine. You are more than your mind. The infants got a hold of scissors, of course it made a mess. The idea behind meditation isn’t to make our mind like a silent mausoleum, it is to keep the mind adaptive while not letting waste energy or have the power to hurt us.

Below are some ways to take back the space between your ears. These are guidelines that you may need to tweak to make fit your needs. As long as the ‘highs and lows’ of your thinking begin to even out and ‘tantrums’ become shorter and less frequent, you are on the right path.

1. Focus On Your Breath, Acknowledging What Pops Up

Your focus while meditating should have a singular focal point. I recommend either the rise and fall of your sternum or the feeling of breath inside your nose.

The focal point should have a direct connection to your breath. There are different ways of breathing and counting breath, but I recommend: in breath (that’s one), out breath (that’s two), in breath (that’s three), and so on. There is no need to count higher then ten. This isn’t a mental exercise.

As formations arise look at them without judgment, smile and let them go. At first they will still hang around yammering, but like an infant it’ll get bored and wander off. Anytime you loose track of your breath, restart. Anytime you get to ten, restart. Start to divide your attention from your inner voice, to your inner being, inner health and other voices.

2. Bring Intention And Mindfulness Into Your Daily Activities

Through out your day, whenever you remember, breath to ten while you work or play. Re-word your intentions, or try to focus on only your breath and the task at hand. Watch yourself react and accept that reaction. Then let it go. If you are having a consistent problem with strong negative formations, like suicidal thoughts, then start to carry a pen with you.

Anytime you experience the reoccurring formation stop: make a notch in a book or on your skin (gently!). While you are making only a notch, examine this feeling. Try to see where it is coming from.

Don’t run from it or push it away. This is only endowing it more unproductive energy. Embrace it for what it is and say some nice stuff to yourself. Say it aloud if you have to. Don’t be put off by how hard and painful it is to say, ‘you’re beautiful’. At the end of the day gather up all your scratches and look at them.

Embrace that you are in pain. Smile and thank yourself for growing and trying to try to love yourself. A couple days of this killed my suicidal thoughts, and they have never returned in the same force.

3. Meditate Regularly And Often

Set a schedule and do your best to meet it. It doesn’t have to be the same time everyday, but it’s easier to plan your day around it if you do. You don’t have to sit under a tree for days either. Like exercise it is better to do a smaller amount of a period of time, than binge meditate.

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