Prayer and meditation are not as easy as they may seem. In our modern, fast-paced, gadget-centered world, it is hard to find a quiet moment. Even if we sit quietly trying to pray, to meditate, to clear our minds, our minds rebel. We just have too many things to think about to be quiet. What am I going to make for dinner tonight? Sitting here is a waste of time when I have work to do. What if I don’t have money to pay the mortgage this month? What if I lose my job? I wonder whether I should wear the red dress to the party?
Big or small, our minds will find distractions to fill them. Distracting thoughts are not unlike our learned codependent and dysfunctional behaviors—our mind is the master-controller of those behaviors. It does not know how to release the drama. It thinks it knows better than us—better than God or our Higher Power.
Is your mind trying to compete with your Higher Power? Even when you intuitively know something—you know what you should or should not do—does your mind get in the way? Do you take the better paying job even though you know you’d be happier at your current job because it “makes sense” to do so? Do you date someone because your mother likes him even though you know he’s not the right one? Do you find yourself stressed over everything you have to do all the time, trying to keep it all straight in your head?
At the bottom of bad decisions, stress, and mind chatter is the fear you will lose control. Ironically, we’ll only lose control when we allow our minds completely to take over—allow them to use their tools of stress, fear, and dysfunctional behaviors. When we allow the mind to take over, it can go into overdrive, to overheat, to become overtired. Sometimes, our minds simply need a break, a shut down, a cooling off period.
When we give in to a few minutes of quiet, to releasing our thoughts, to focusing on our breathing, we regain our center. Suddenly, we find our perspectives changing, our day transforms from one of lack and not enough time to one of abundance, to an overflowing of time when we have space to get everything done and to enjoy ourselves as well. We realize we will get done what we need to, and what we don’t get done didn’t really need to be done anyway.
Don’t let your mind, your fear, your stress take over and extinguish your sense of feeling good. Let your mind and your body rest. Relax. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Center yourself. Allow yourself the right to feel good. Give yourself just five minutes to do nothing and you’ll find your mind functions better. When we stop the mind chatter, we can get done what needs to be done more quickly, and maybe we will hear inside the voice that really matters.
Irene Watson, MA, is author of The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference, and co-editor of The Story that Must Be Told: True Tales of Transformation, and Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers. She is a workshop leader, managing editor of Reader Views, and president of a non-profit Higher Power Foundation. Irene lives next to Barton Creek in Austin, TX, with her husband Robert.