I keep hearing people say that meditation isn’t about quieting or stilling the mind.
For me it is. It’s about stilling and calming the mind, emotions and nervous system.
Perhaps what they mean is that you don’t focus on quieting the mind in meditation because that would put you into wrangling with your every thought and emotion. You’d be trying to suppress them.
In meditations like Meditation on the Breath, you choose something to focus on and just let the thoughts go by. By focusing on that one thing and bring your mind back to it when it wanders, you calm your system and train your mind to be more focused.
Every meditation practice has different benefits – and limitations. I’ve written before about Meditation on the Breath and Mindfulness and potential limitations of the practice and ways to overcome them.
I want to add another element that can transform your meditation and take you to a whole new experience.
Increasing the Stillness
One way to increase stillness is to focus on it. Below the busy level of your chattering monkey mind and emotions is quietness. It’s like a well of water running deep below the surface and it’s always available to drop into.
With this technique, you shift your focus slightly. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that between the inhalation and exhalation is a brief moment when everything stops and is still. The same between in exhalation and inhalation.
So, you put your awareness on the moments of stillness between breathing in and out. Your body inhales – and then stillness. Your body exhales – and then stillness.
As you put your focus there, the stillness expands (it may take some practice). You spend a longer time in stillness between your breaths.
Don’t worry if you become so still that you stop breathing.
Sometimes people get scared when they stop breathing in meditation, but you’re not in any danger, the body will breath again when it needs to. Just enjoy the complete quietness without the breath.
That’s it – a simple technique to deepen your meditation experience.
If you have questions, please drop them in the comments.