Bow to Every Thought
Mindfulness practice can sometimes seem like an insurmountable challenge. Over the years many students have told me: “ I tried to meditate but I just couldn’t empty my mind. I have so many thoughts, I just can’t do it.”
The Fullness of the Mind
In Mind Body Intelligence we learn that the fullness of the mind is its natural state. No-one can truly “empty” their minds, nor is that really a desirable condition. The gift of mindfulness practice, is the development of the capacity to work with whatever arises in our minds; which in turn deepens our ability to be present. From the mindful state we are able to receive all of our experience and yet, choose to refrain from thinking about it. Thinking about experience creates a kind of barrier that interferes with touching the reality of this, very moment.
Cultivating inner atmosphere
Sitting in basic concentration meditation, we nurture an inner experience of acceptance and loving-kindness. We refrain from judgment and criticism. As we sit, we intend to accept everything that occurs (lots of thoughts or physical discomfort, for example) for just what they are, as we also refrain from striving for a “better meditation experience”.
In this lovely atmosphere of ease, acceptance and compassion; we notice every thought, sensation, feeling, and experience that arises. Because we are focusing on the breath, our bodies have entered into a state of rest and calm, further supporting our mental intentions.
The palace of mind consciousness
Into this palace of mind consciousness comes the mental formations (your thoughts). We can think of them as petitioners who seek audience with the monarch; royal relatives and nobles, scholars, merchants and business people, the poor, the wronged and the sick. Each of them want to be heard and each of them has a very important message.
You are the gracious Monarch. You have decreed a period of silence and open-hearted presence. Bowing to the petitioners as each one approaches, you kindly acknowledge their presence. They must agree to refrain from speaking, to receive the benefit of entering the hall of audience.
The flow of visitors begins to decrease as they bask in the glow of your compassion, and their urgency to be heard diminishes.They become still and sure in the sense that they will be heard at the right time. They begin to sink down and rest, out of your awareness, of their own accord.
Breathing in I notice my thoughts.
Breathing out I smile to them.
Breathing in I notice thinking.
Breathing out I tenderly call my thoughts by name; “thinking”.
Breathing in I feel the breath enter my body.
Breathing out I create an inner palace of lovingkindness.
Breathing in I notice the breath
Breathing out I bow to my thoughts.
Breathing in I rest in the palace
Breathing out I feel calm
May this information benefit you, those you love, and all sentient beings, everywhere.
© Ellen M. Adelman PhD 2013, all rights reserved.
Mind Body Intelligencetm is a trademark of Ellen M. Adelman PhD and the Sage Healing Institute.
For more information visit www.sagehealinginstitute.com.