I was interviewed for a podcast last week.
The very nice and very knowledgeable interviewer asked question after question about the techniques I use to help people have a deeper, more meaningful experience of life. She really wanted to give her listeners something of value that could make their life better right away, so her questions were excellent ones.
While I don’t use techniques per se, there were many things I could share that could immediately benefit listeners.
I explained that a richer, more meaningful experience of life is our default, natural state when our chatty, personal, thinking mind settles down.
Without the confusion of believing every thought in our head, life flows through us and guides us. We have new thoughts and creative ideas. Life running through us, unimpeded by a busy mind, does much of the “work” on our behalf.
Interviewer: Great! So how do we settle down our minds? What do you do with your clients to get their minds to settle down?
Me: I teach them how the mind works. Once they understand that the mind is self-correcting—it settles down on its own far better than we could ever do—they let that natural process work for them. They find themselves with a calmer mind—and more time on their hands—as a result.
Interviewer: Okay…I get that a settled mind is good, but how do we get there?
Me: You understand that your mind is self-settling. Your mind has a self-clearing mechanism built in. Once you know that, you’ll let it work for you. But before you know that, you might make it worse because you’ll be trying really hard to clear your own mind and trying really hard to do that adds more to your mind! So understanding how this works is what is ultimately helpful.
Interviewer: Hmm…do you meditate? Practice deep breathing, tapping, chanting? Do you do The Work of Byron Katie or change your thoughts in some other way? Are there techniques like those you can recommend?
Me: I do not do any of those as a practice, no. People find behaviors they enjoy but that’s separate from what we’re talking about. Behaviors and practices aside, the mind settles down on its own, naturally, without our input, when we stop attending to our every thought and stepping on the gas pedal in our heads.
When we see that it works in this way, we step in less (because why would we?) and we let it self-correct. And it does. Eventually. Every time.
Interviewer: [Silence, looking very confused].
Me: [I pick up the snow globe I have sitting on my desk and shake it up]. See, our mind is like this snow globe. We can shake it up by overthinking, getting really involved in our own thoughts and opinions, viewing them as truth…
If we want the snow in the snow globe to settle down, what do we do? We just set it down, right? The nature of the snow globe is still; that’s what it is when we’re not interfering. Our minds are the same.
Interviewer: Are you saying that our mind settles down completely on its own?
Me: Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying.
Interviewer: [Look of shock]. No one ever told me that. I never, ever knew that. And this is my line of work! And still, I never, ever knew that the mind clears on its own. I always thought I needed to do it.
Me: You’re not alone. It’s a huge, universal misunderstanding.
Interviewer: This is blowing my mind. This changes everything.
Me: Yes, it does.
Did you know? I certainly didn’t for most of my life.
For most of my career as a psychologist and coach I didn’t know the mind had a self-clearing mechanism built in. I too thought we needed practices and techniques to get back to home base. So it’s perfectly typical and normal if you didn’t know either.
But once you do know and you let that self-clearing mechanism work for you, life gets far easier and nicer.
You begin to rest in the knowing that you are well and peaceful and that is nothing you must do to make that true.
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[…] Your thinking clears and settles down on its own (always), but then your mind speaks up again, talking about whatever it’s finding most familiar and relevant in the moment. […]
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