Right now you are reading this. But maybe it is also raining and you can hear the rain pounding on your roof. Does that make you worry if the roof shingles will hold? And maybe a baby is crying two houses over. Why won’t somebody please mind that baby? And maybe your son went off to school without his permission slip signed—what can be done about that? Will he be forced to miss his field trip and might he never forgive you? And maybe you’re just a little bit hungry—or maybe you’re very hungry—and that leftover croissant is beginning to pull at you. But of course you shouldn’t really eat it … and it doesn’t microwave properly anyway … and on top of that …
Such is the room that is our mind. It is a place of babel, of competing thoughts and sensations, of flickers of desire and nanoseconds of regret, of pressing singularities and wild simultaneities, of a cacophony of tossing and tumbling! How is anything to be felt deeply or thought about carefully when … is that the baby crying again? Where are his parents! And too bad about that permission slip! And … wait, what was I saying?
Picture your easy chair, the one you substituted for that nasty bed of nails. Maybe you can make a deal with yourself. Maybe you can say to yourself, “When I want to feel something deeply, like the time I’m spending with my mate, I will sit myself in my easy chair and not hear that babel. When I’m in my easy chair, I will be completely present.” Likewise, when you want to think hard about something, like the direction you want to take your business, you can say to yourself, “When I want to think clearly, I will sit myself in my easy chair. Then I’ll think only about my business and not about how overwhelmed I’m feeling or about how I wish my neighbors would take care of their crying baby!”
You can use your easy chair to focus, to become present, and to deal with the roar of simultaneous happenings. In addition, you might try the following. Picture the room that is your mind as a crowded train platform full to the brim with folks waiting for a train to a faraway place. There’s tumult everywhere, luggage carts and backpacks and golf clubs and shopping bags filled with provisions for the journey. The train is three minutes away. A flashing sign counts down the minutes. Two minutes to boarding! You can hear the train in the distance. Now it’s arriving! In it roars, sounding its horn to warn passengers back from the edge and producing a whirlwind.
The doors fly open and everyone begins boarding. Everyone is boarding … except you. You are not traveling. Instead you sit yourself on one of the vacated benches and watch the train roll out. When it is gone, all is calm. You have the whole platform to yourself. You can think anything you like and feel anything you like without interruption. You have no luggage to watch, no unused ticket to toss, no salami sandwich crying to be eaten. You are sitting in a place of deep silence.
Yes, there’s a bit of a chill breeze blowing through, some unexplained rumbles, and an echo if you shout. But this is still about as quiet as a mind can get. No doubt new passengers will arrive to board the next train to another faraway place. But they won’t show up for a while, not even the earliest of the early birds. For a precious quarter hour you can feel deeply, if you like. For half an hour at least you can follow some train of thought. Goodbye great train to Berlin, au revoir Paris express, I’ve a train of thought to follow!
Whenever you need to, transform the room that is your mind into an empty train platform where you can stake out a bench, shut your eyes, and shed all that simultaneous nattering about broken shingles, babies wailing and unsigned permission slips. Hear nothing except the mournful sound of a distant train whistle—and whatever you really mean to be thinking. Tame the noisy, busy now with some precious quiet time, either in your easy chair or on your platform bench. Otherwise you will mix your budding thoughts about the direction to take your business with weird fragments about crying babies and flying shingles and where will that get you!
This lesson is part of the Your Best Mind Ever series. In this groundbreaking program Dr. Eric Maisel teaches a brand new way to get a grip on our minds.
About the Author
Dr. Maisel is the author of more than 40 books and teaching nationally and internationally at workshop centers like Esalen, Kripalu and Omega and in locations like San Francisco, New York, London and Paris. Learn more about Dr. Maisel’s books, services, workshops and training at www.ericmaisel.com.