Some thoughts on calming the mind

People often ask about how to calm their mind, because it is always so busy. It seems especially so when we want to sleep or if we wake in the middle of the night.  At least a part of this problem is our relationship to thinking. If our mind is busy and we don’t like what it is busy with, or it is busy at a time we would prefer it to be quiet, we are in a state of conflict with our minds. Being in conflict is uncomfortable, at any time.

Recognizing that our mind is really working on something, even if it appears to be going over and over a topic repetitively, is to introduce some curiosity toward our mind and the ways we think. Perhaps our mind needs to go over memories, events from the day, difficult issues as a way of working something through. Kind of going over something from all angles, learning from it. Of course, the mental content may not be pleasant, and it is hard if we are in conflict with this kind of mental activity. Having some curiosity for the way our mind is working, being gentle toward this experience, giving it permission do what it needs, all change our relationship to this experience. Rather than being in conflict with it, we can start to know and learn more about how it functions. We can start to see how and in what ways our mind is trying to sort things through. We may even choose to spend some quiet time daily, getting to know this amazing functioning of our minds. We may see the value in it, be able to tolerate it more, follow and learn from it. We can have an increasingly friendly attitude to our minds and the amazing way thinking functions and all we can learn from it. We will also learn it is not always busy, and has the capacity to take its rest as well.