Many gurus, spiritual teachers, and psychologists talk about how meditation is easy, relaxing, and soothing. This may be true for some people. However, for those of you, like myself, who have an overactive mind, meditation never really has come easy to me and sometimes it is not exactly relaxing for me either. In fact, about a couple years ago, my mind was so preoccupied with some difficult circumstances I was going through, that I couldn’t even meditate. This surprised me because I had been practicing meditation and breathing exercises for over 10 years. I remember I spoke to a spiritual life coach about my difficulty meditating and she told me that I probably was not able to actually meditate now; and that it likely was difficult for me to meditate because I had an overactive mind.
Meditation was supposed to be something I could use to soothe and quiet my mind. However, it eventually had become a chore for me and even somewhat stressful at times.
I asked my life coach for advice and she gave some specific tips to help me with my meditation practice that actually worked and helped me quiet my mind. I believe these strategies will help anyone who has an overactive mind or has found it difficult to meditate….
1. In order to help quiet my mind, I began to listen to guided relaxation before I began to meditate. I searched for guided relaxation and guided meditation on YouTube and iTunes and found some that I particularly liked. I found Davidji and really liked his guided meditations. I would listen to that and others immediately before my meditation.
2. Another strategy I found helpful to quiet my mind is to start my meditation immediately after I had done yoga. Yoga seems to help me release some tension and makes it easier to focus my mind. So, I would start my meditation immediately after I did some yoga.
Additionally, while I meditated, I tried two different techniques that I previously had not tried that also helped me quiet my mind more.
3. I focused on a candle rather than my breath or a mantra. I don’t know why, maybe because I am more of a visual person, but looking at a candle did seem to give my mind something to concentrate on rather than my breath or a mantra.
4. Incorporate essential oils into your practice. Using an essential oil with a soothing scent can help you calm and focus your mind. Happy Haves has helpful essential oils you can use to relax. For more information, you can visit https://www.happyhaves.com/collections/essential-oil-diffusers/products/original-moon
4. Sometimes, I also would close my eyes but focus on placing my awareness or looking at my third eye or the space where my third eye is. Again, this gave me something to visually focus on, which seemed to help my overactive mind quiet down a bit.
5. I also changed my attitude about meditation. Some of the spiritual gurus talk about how meditation should result in enlightenment, quieting your mind, or finding the “gap” between your thoughts. I have been meditating now for over 10 years and I have never been able to fully quiet my mind for a long period of time or get into the “gap” between my thoughts; let alone enlightenment. What I have found, though, is the conscious act of coming back to placing my attention on my third eye or a candle while my mind starts to drift during meditation does provide me with some moments of peace and solitude.
I believe the conscious act of coming back to what you are focusing your attention on while meditating when you become distracted is as equally important as the moments of quiet you experience. I also believe this has helped me become more discipline with my thinking and behavior throughout the day, which tends to help me generate more peace, purpose, and gratitude as I go about my daily tasks and responsibilities. This is something that I am truly grateful for and one of the reasons why I continue to make meditation a daily practice in my life.