Sep 20, 2015


Dear Brain,

It’s time you take a break. Think of it as a permanent vacation. Chill out and enjoy the ride. I’ve got it from here.


For the longest time my brain ran the show. Constant. Chatter. Perhaps you’ve heard of the “monkey mind.” This monkey was pretty wild. It would just extrapolate any possible cause, make commentary on the current happenings and their possible meanings, pontificate on what had happened and how it could go from here blah blah blah.

I finally became aware of this tendency shortly after college. I had no idea how much I had been ruled by it for all these years. I started watching it go go go. But mere observation remained powerless to prevent the onslaught. Maybe if I could muster enough will I could shut it down.

Alas. Remember Newton’s Third Law of Motion? For every action is an equal and opposite reaction. Attempting to use force to prevent thoughts creates thoughts pushing back forcefully. Effectively managing it would impossible for years to come.

Remember the First Law of Motion? An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Energy is constantly moving. Every atom in your body is fluctuating continuously. Your thoughts are a kind of energy that has to always be on the move. If we don’t let them out of us when they come up, the movement has to go somewhere, so it ends up becoming a kind of vortex around the heart. This whirlwind prevents us from clearly hearing the heart’s gentle call. The effect? The mind takes over, compensating in the deafness.

But the brain is a computer. It extrapolates possibilities. It considers pros and cons. It imagines outcomes, weighs in on past tendencies and questions, analyzes and examines every input. The brain is not meant to choose, only evaluate. If you consider our physiology, the heart is centered between the brain/analysis, and the gut/instinct. These two equal and opposite modes of decision making are both tempered by the heart’s silent wisdom, its gentle call towards the beautiful, the true. The heart is the sun, the center. The brain and gut are actually the satellites.

What have I found most effective to clear this mess and realign to my heart’s wisdom? Meditation, surprise surprise. It has helped oodles. The thoughts are fewer, the content is calmer, my reactions are way more stable, and I’m more and more centered in my heart. Long story short: meditation = awesome.

Since practicing daily to center myself, I’ve learned some perspective on why the mind off-gasses endlessly. According to yogic science, the mind by nature is pure and self-regulates to maintain that purity. When we put in suggestions that are impure, they come out as thoughts. Thoughts are a natural process and a way of exhausting superfluous additions to our pure Selves. The idea that thoughts are natural and have to come out helped me feel more relaxed about their (constant) presence. This is the reason why it’s so important to let go – then the thoughts clear and the heart lightens.

In meditation we’re taught to treat thoughts like dogs barking at a passing car. You’re in for a ride and you keep moving. You become so absorbed in the beauty of the ride, the thrill of the destination, all else fades into the background. It doesn’t magically stop or end, it’s still there, but interest in the journey trumps the roadside attractions.

That’s the sweet spot I’m finding more in meditation. The thoughts are there - barking dogs. But the ride is so captivating, my heart smoothly presses the accelerator. And the best part is, practice is practical! I’m finding my heart take the driver’s seat more and more in waking life. I feel it’s constant presence seated inside. I feel capable, confident. And when I hit bumps in the road, I have the tools to introspect and adjust – shock absorbers, if you will.

I invite you to come along for the ride. Give your brain a rest, and let your heart steer you to the beckoning horizon. It’s quite a trip.

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