Build the muscles of your mind with persistence by choosing the thoughts you want to think
Do you prefer meditating in silence or with music? Well, silence is golden. But using music in meditation can be very useful. It can create a soothing mood and also absorb the distractions in the background. You may want to 1) avoid using songs or dramatic classical music, and 2) make a calming music playlist for meditation.
When your thoughts are racing around, you can try to slow the racing thoughts. Or you can just watch the traffic of thoughts pass by from the side of the road. If you get carried away by your thoughts, gently step back and go back to watching your thoughts pass by. Gradually you may find that the traffic in your mind will either a) not bother you anymore or b) clear up.
Whenever your perspective becomes narrow or your mind feels constrained, let your mind become like the sky; stretched from horizon to horizon. Let your thoughts come and go like clouds, resting your awareness in the blue sky of the mind, experiencing the mind to be vast, open and boundless, like the sky. Whenever your mind feels constrained, let your mind become like the sky.
Whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, you can let your mind wander, meditate or do nothing. Or you can jog on the spot, do jumping jacks or do yoga stretches. Or you can drink water, breathe deeply or think of one thing to be grateful for. What will you do while the kettle boils?
If you can’t stop thinking about something, imagine releasing your thoughts like children blowing soap bubbles. Imagine taking a deep breath and breathe out your thoughts through the bubble wand, blowing soap bubbles into the air. Release your thoughts and like bubbles, watch your thoughts float away, and pop and dissolve into the air.
In the heat of a stressful moment, if you can, stop for a few minutes to take a few long, slow, deep breaths. Loosen your jaw, relieve the tension in your neck, allow your shoulders to fall down and back, soften your belly and release the stress. Do this and it will help you put stress into perspective, and handle the situation with a calmer state of mind.
During meditation, most people find that their attention wanders off. This can happen a lot. It's part of the process. So, when your attention wanders, instead of getting frustrated, acknowledge it and then bring your attention back to the meditation. Even if you have to do this more than a few times, every time, gently bring your attention back.
Virtues are the good qualities within each one of us; they’re our personal resources: contentment, determination, generosity, humility, serenity, tolerance…. Spend time with your virtues and get reacquainted. How? Meditate on a virtue. 1. Choose a virtue that interests you or would help you best today. 2. Hold the virtue in your mind. Now, feel it and experience it. 3. And then, be it. Be the embodiment of this virtue.
Bring meditation to your kitchen. How? As you wash and chop, fry and stir, boil and bake.... meditate. Meditate for a minute, and be present and mindful of the sounds, the smells, the textures, the tastes. Be peaceful and happy in the kitchen, and cook with love. Do this and turn cooking into a meditation experience.
Whenever you get stuck in unwanted thoughts, think of your thoughts as birds. Thoughts are like birds fluttering around in your mind. You are not the birds. You are not your thoughts. So let go and let all your thoughts leave your mind and fly away. If other unwanted thoughts appear, it’s OK. Just let go, free your mind and let thoughts like birds fly by.
The mind is so often restless, jumping from one thought to another, never sitting still for a moment. To calm your mind, every now and then, try holding a thought in your mind like you would hold something precious in the palm of your hand. For a few moments just let that thought sit very still in the palm of your mind. Hold a thought long enough and it may calm and energise the mind.