Wandering mind…Heads or Tails #27

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The topic over at skittles today is Wonder/Wander. I chose tails, that means wander. I would like to warn the reader upfront, mainly because this might be one of the most boring post you will ever get to read, something which is very naive and a re-creation of what I have heard and felt over the years. What I am trying to say is that, reader shall continue reading at his/her own risk πŸ™‚

Have you ever tried to relax, what is it that you do to relax?. Before I hear the answer, let me tell you I am not talking about physical strain here. How do you relax your mind?. This is a question a doctor asked the open audience in a lecture on how to avoid stress. What followed was a normal discussion about eating healthy, taking break etc. What I took home from the lecture, is to sit alone and trying to concentrate on relaxing mind.

As I sat in my room, on the floor, leaning to a wall, with my head stiff, and my back a little arched. I began to concentrate on the middle of my eyebrows. I was finding it extremely difficult to stop my mind wandering onto different thoughts. So I fell back to the age old principle of using a placeholder to focus your mind upon. I started chanting a word “OM”, I found the word too cliched so I thought I should be able to do this with any word. So I chose “RAMA”, mainly because that was one thing I spotted outside my window. I began to chant RAMA very often, and my mind which was supposed to relax was now focussed on saying the word “RAMA”.

I was trying to concentrate on the word RAMA and was trying to make sure my thoughts dont stray on any other thing, all the time I was thinking of only thing “My thoughts should not stray”. I was saying the word RAMA but my thoughts were about making sure I don’t think about anything else.

After about 10 mnts, I realized I had really not accomplished what I wanted to do, thats making sure not to think about anything else, that itself had manifested into a thought, and my mind had wandered off.

Now I understood what the instructor meant, when he said concentrate on something. So I began to continue with the exercise, this time after a seconds of absence of thoughts my mind wandered into the area of my work, I was thinking about all the things I need to finish the next day at work, I began to think about a piece of impact I had identified long time back and had totally forgotten about, I began to think about an incident on that day when I had thought about this impact, how humiliated I had felt when my proposal was rejected, only later to be found as a valid solution. How I had liked a white clad woman in office that day. Suddenly I realized my mind had wandered away, and I had to force my mind back into concentrating on chanting word RAMA.

This time I could do more of it, before my mind wandered again. My mind went off to a childhood memory where I used to hate eating a particular dish my mom used to make, how I totally relived that hatred when I mom made the same dish today, I began to remember a friend from my childhood who used to get some weird but tasty stuff for lunch, and we used to share the food. I began to remember the color of the uniform we used to wear back then, and the teacher of whom I was a favorite. Puff, back to the original goal, I am supposed to concentrate not wander.

After several such rounds of concentration and wandering, I realized one thing, what I was able to achieve was clear of thought whenever my mind wandered, I mean I could really solve many issues easily this way, even though I was OFF from my original goal of not wandering, I was able to think and come up with solutions to many problems of complex stature. Also I began to notice, with practice the gap between thoughts was also increasing, I guess thats the period of pure silence, the gap between the two thoughts, more I could prolong those, more I could relax. Its amazing how much silence can contribute the thoughts that are about to follow, and how the silence of the mind totally rejuvenates your mind.

Try the technique and let me know the results …..

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26 responses »

  1. Oh I relate so well to this! What I try to do first is to concentrate on my breathing, since I have learned that my mind still manages to chatter on at me, I focus on chakra breathing. Although the mind still occasionally manages to butt in, I find because I am focusing on both my breath and the chakras, one by one, there is enough to be “thinking” about. After that, I usually find that I and my mind are sufficiently stilled and I try to simply sit in silence and let whatever floats up or past do so. I think sometimes we make these still and mindful times too stressful and difficult for ourselves by constantly thinking, I mustn’t think and chastising ourselves when we do. I think one simply has to be in the moment, whatever the moment holds. It’s about acceptance and surrender and slowly letting go.

    Vanilla,
    Hey thanks for providing such good insights into the way you relax. I do know about the chakras.. I think I am gonna read more on that one.
    -Rambler

  2. With so many kids at my house silence is a very precious commodity. Very interesting post!

    Tammy,
    Think about the mental silence, where you know not just people talking, but also your mind constantly trying to noise the self.
    -Rambler

  3. This was NOT a boring post. In fact far from it.

    Relaxing the mind is something I need a lot and I will try this method you wrote about.

    Thanks!

    (Have you signed the HoT notify list? There’s a contest listed at the top of my blog.)

    Skittles, let me know how the trial went πŸ™‚
    -Rambler

  4. I agree with Skittles – NOT a boring post at all!

    I have a LOT of trouble relaxing my mind. I tend to stress out about everything. Thank you for writing this post!

    Thanks Misty, I think you should try this…
    -Rambler

  5. Relaxing my mind ?
    1. To get rid of office stuff , I head kitchen ; cooking makes me relaxed. πŸ˜€
    2. When I get worked up at office ; I spend some time in bloggers ville :p
    3. If nothing works; I irritate someone else’s mind so that i can get rid off it ..lolzzz

    well on a serious note; pranayama is one thing that makes me relaxed. I am big fan of sudarshan kriya ; and I am the one who never believed in pranayama or meditation before.

    Sitting with closed eyes ; preferaably without any sounds or some omkar in background ; and letting you go with it ; can not be described in words. one can only experience it .

    BlueMist,
    Actually cooking to many is exact similar to chanting a mantra, mainly because thats the time you tend to forget about the rest and concentrate on one thing.
    I liked your point #3 πŸ˜‰
    I have never tried Sudarshana kriya.., should try once.
    -Rambler

  6. I agree that in silence we can find not only solace but it relieves the mind from stress and worries. Perhaps the state of a relaxed mind helps us bring solutions to some problems that otherwise seem difficult to solve.

    Rach, exactly the idea behind the silence.
    -Rambler

  7. Great post.

    When meditating it depends which teachings you follow.

    It’s OK when the mind wanders… thoughts do so.
    But there’s no need to follow them.

    Just let them walk past, like people in a bussy street.

    You can find my heads or tails ::here::

    Have a wonderful day!

    Laane, I slightly think on the other lines, I feel one should follow the mind, react fully so that you never need to wander to that thought again
    -Rambler

  8. I actually liked reading this…but should try this tchnique…i’m hopeless at concentrating…my mind’s too hyper…

    very, very interesting , Rambler…

    TA, Let me know hot it worked for you, I too belong to those hyper category πŸ™‚
    -Rambler

  9. Interesting post! I used to be able to mediate easier than I can now – need to get serious about it, again. It’s a wonder-ful habit!

    Tumblewords.
    I think you should ..
    -Rambler

  10. I never was very good at meditation, am afraid I used to drop off to sleep then πŸ˜€
    But that could be because I usually tried it on my bed at the end of a long day.
    I find myself agreeing with BlueMist, cooking relaxes me.
    I sort of drift off into a numb state when I am near my stove and actually most relaxed then. My parents got that fact and now keep out of the kitchen when I am in, since I snap at anyone who intrudes on me there.

    CR,
    I think I too have done that so many times.. but I think its also a fun way of learning. Looks like Cooking is your omkara, enjoy it πŸ™‚
    -Rambler

  11. what does “rama” means? where im from rama-rama means butterfly.

    i relax my mind by listening to music and taking all the lyrics in. it works well enough for me. and i dont think i’ll be trying meditating. i’ll definitely look crazy to others since i dont think i have much alone time at all.

    Jos, Rama is a name of Indian god. I think we should do whatever relaxes us.
    -Rambler

  12. Great post…really..nowadays I find nothing can get me to meditate and I can really relate to what you said about obsessing about not getting your thoughts to stray πŸ™‚

    GDs, welcome to Virtual Ramblings.. I think you should try to experience silence.. if not meditate.
    -Rambler

  13. oh rambler..this post is not at all boring but thought provoking. i liked it. but my mind wanders too much…and during that particular time many weired and funny things come to my mind πŸ˜€

    take care πŸ™‚

    Preetilata..I think we experience happiness and enjoy humor in state of relaxation
    -Rambler

  14. I am glad I came back here as I didnt stop to read this one yesterday…very nice post on mind’s wanderings. Practise doth make it perfect, instead of a word, ever tried concentrating on a sequence of events first?

    For instance take your white clad lady at work…just remember the surrounding pertaining to your thoughts on seeing her to begin with, your thoughts at the time, your feelings and the moment you caught sight of her. Then on the second round recall the same things but try to add more details, what time of the day it was, the details of the lady itself, did she have a personality, did her smile catch you, did her face catch you or was it something else? Thus get your thoughts narrower and narrower. On the third attempt try even more – before you know you will be able to recall within your mind’s eye – every minute detail of the lady as though she was standing right before you once again….now that’s concentration.

    With time you will be able to do it with a word but starting with a word is difficult, that’s my personal thought on the subject. You got me thinking.

    UL, I liked your idea, I think this holds perfectly good for detailing your thoughts, but I was more concerned about silence between the two thoughts.
    -Rambler

  15. It is amazing where our minds go when we’re trying to make them do what they want. Every time I’ve tried to empty my thoughts, I wind up falling asleep. I like the instruction “don’t ignore the thoughts that come into your head, acknowledge them and let them go.” That keeps me awake & helps me return to focusing.

    Autumn, I think we all go through the phase, but then yes as you said one needs to acknowledge them and then let go.
    -Rambler

  16. Loved this!My mind wanders all the time!I really need to sit down and focus but the time never comes!Thanks for giving a nudge with this post πŸ™‚

    Have a nice weekend!

    Glad you liked this Sameera, I guess you should try some of the techiniques ..
    -Rambler

  17. Very interesting post. My friend just started to learn to meditate and she said in order to find silence you have to find acceptance first and allow to let your thoughts freely float. To achieve complete silence is the ultimate skill only aquired by a few.

    I totally agree with you, it is ultimate skill to achieve complete silence.
    -Rambler

  18. interesting post. i have tried this out too and it has almost always worked for me. πŸ™‚ i also find relaxation in losing myself in natural surroundings and losing myself in books. perhaps, thats the clue – forgetting yourself, your routine, and losing yourself – that helps you relax. and i completely agree with your statement that silence, at times, is necessary. being with yourself and your thoughts can do wonders for you. πŸ™‚

    priya, good to know you tried this, but getting lost in books and surroundings, hmm really? that makes me you control thoughts?. thats interesting.
    -Rambler

  19. πŸ™‚ books and natural surroundings do not make me control my thoughts. they help me forget myself, my problems, my routine life. when i read a book, i try to enter the head of the character or the writer, so i lose myself. similarly, i forget myself when i am visiting a new place or am at a place i love greatly. thats what i meant.

    ah ok that way, sorry I misunderstood, I was thinking on the lines where one does not let his/her mind to think about anything and feel the silence in his/her head
    -rambler

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