Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Daily Om: Clearing Your Mind

I know a lot of people who have a hard time falling asleep at night. The day's events, stresses, and tomorrow's responsibilities play and replay, keeping us awake, making us anxious. I have been one of these people for most of my life.

Today's Daily Om offers some useful advice on how to overcome this brain pattern, which really operates like a habit. We get into the habit of stressing ourselves, so we need to unlearn the habit and replace it with a healthier one, such as clearing the mind in the evening.
Allowing Spirit In
Clearing Your Mind

After a full day out in the world, stories, words, images, and songs from any number of sources continue to play in our heads hours after we encounter them. Even as we lie in bed, in the quiet dark, our minds continue noisily processing all the input from our day. This can leave us feeling unsettled and harassed. It also makes it difficult to take in any new information or inspiration. Like a cluttered house that needs to be cleared if it is to have room for movement and new life, our minds need clearing if they are to be open to new information, ideas, and inspiration.

Too often, the activities we choose to help us relax only add to the clutter. Watching television, seeing a movie, reading a book, or talking to a friend all involve taking in more information. In order to really clear our minds, we need a break from mental stimulation. Activities like yoga, dancing, or taking a long walk help to draw our attention to our bodies, slowing our mental activity enough that our minds begin to settle. Deep breathing is an even simpler way to draw attention away from our mental activities. Once we are mentally relaxed, we can begin the process of clearing our minds. Most of us instinctively know what allows our minds to relax and release any unnecessary clutter. It may be meditation or time spent staring at the stars. Whatever it is, these exercises feel like a cool, cleansing bath for the brain and leave our minds feeling clear and open.

Setting aside time to clear our minds once a day creates a ritual that becomes second nature over time. Our minds will begin to settle with less effort the more we practice. Ultimately, the practice of clearing our minds allows us to be increasingly more open so that we can perceive the world as the fresh offering it is, free of yesterday's mental clutter.

1 comment:

MoE said...

Good idea. Something I have found works is to ask myself "can I be with what I am experiencing right now?" It allows me to be with even the resistance to what is (for instance not being able to sleep), which allows the tension to go out of the situation. I either fall asleep right away, or if I don't, then it at least becomes much more interesting... being with whatever comes up, no matter what it is. Seeing it all flow by.