I hear a lot about “quieting the mind.”


I hear a lot about “quieting the mind.” Somehow we have this notion that we can or should rid the mind of all thoughts in order to penetrate the deeper truth and reality of things. This would be the equivalent of telling a bird not to fly or a fish not to swim. The mind thinks – end of story. It is a concept-generating machine. That’s just what it does in the same way that a bird flies and fish swim. The mind (and its cognitive functions) along with the functioning of your body is what allows you to have a human experience. The mind is not a problem, and you’re never going to stop your mind from being a mind and thinking.

In a nutshell, this is how it goes. New and different thoughts are continuously bubbling up in your mind like a fountain. They arise spontaneously based on conditions or circumstances. When this naturally occurs, fine. No problem. This is just what happens.

When this can become a problem is when we reach into the fountain, grab a hold of a thought, analyze it, and work it over and over and over in our conceptualizing mind. This can be a problem in two ways. First it can be a problem if we are grabbing a hold of disempowering, destructive or self-defeating thoughts. Secondly, it can be a problem if we are trying to figure out something the mind is not capable of understanding, like the “peace beyond all comprehension,” or the truth and reality that is beyond the capabilities of the dualistic mind.

Consider it this way. “Quieting the mind” is not stopping the thoughts. “Quieting the mind” is stopping the stopping of thoughts. In other words, let your thoughts happen without restraint or attachment.

A man standing on the banks of a stream can either observe a twig floating by, or he can kneel down, reach out, and grab the twig out of the water. Your thoughts are like the twig. See them, acknowledge them, give them whatever proper attention they truly require, and then let them keep floating down the stream.

Latest Comments

  1. JustJohn says:

    Reblogged this on JustJohn and commented:
    so very true. works every time to get to sleep. for me.

  2. Puddleglum says:

    I guess I don’t understand it then. Isn’t this what you were doing in chapter 1 of “Devine Nobodies?” In the converted barn with the candle, I mean.

  3. Deb says:

    I sort of agree with this and I don’t. If you have a mind, like mine, which is always active and always “thinking”, stopping thoughts is very appealing. In some ways it is good because I can analyze and figure things out by thinking about them. In other respects, it’s like always having a conversation just out of earshot. Sometimes you catch words or phrases but when you try to listen, you can never hear the whole conversation.

    It would be nice if the constant steam of thoughts would turn into a still pool or a quiet puddle. In order to stop thinking, I have to concentrate on something specific like counting backwards from 100. That kind of defeats the purpose of being “quiet”.

  4. Kathryn says:

    Well said. I know when I hear something that makes sense to me and I appreciate it when my awareness is piqued to that understanding. Untraining the mind is hard to accomplish, I think. It takes a lot of focus and effort. The mind seems resistant to that effort. It is particularly sad for those who’s mind has been trained in a self destructive way either by themselves or others. I don’t think attempting to empty the mind will accomplish a change in thinking. It requires a rethinking effort.

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