Dharma teacher and author Catherine Ingram relays a story in her book, Passionate Presence: a young friend told her to pretend she was surrounded by 1,000 hungry tigers and asked her what she would do. She said she wasn’t sure. Her young friend said, “I’d stop pretending!”
This is good advice but how often do we follow it? Ingram goes on to assert that our minds are mad. Don’t worry, this is a good thing, because once you accept the madness you can stop trying to reform what can’t be reformed and pay attention to the part of you that isn’t mad.
And this is the main point of meditation.
Minds are useful when we need to conceptualize or analyze, but when it comes to guiding our inner lives, depending on our minds isn’t such a great idea. The mind is wonderful at presenting 1,000 different variations of the past and conjuring a future, and then scaring us with most of the options it comes up with–making us anxious, stressed, or depressed (or sometimes all three!)
Meditation develops the capacity to question the mind and see the 1,000 tigers more objectively instead of believing every thought, desire, and wave of emotion. It can help put in perspective the thoughts that make us anxious, stressed, and depressed and help us decide if they’re valid and true.
Reiki & Meditation
Reiki sessions provide a sense of centering and connection, quieting the mind’s endless chatter. Many of my clients have compared it to the experience of meditation–with the practitioner (in this case, me) helping them meditate in a unique way.
Here’s something I always find useful: if I think I don’t have five minutes to sit and let my mind quiet down, it means I really need to take the time to do it (unfortunately this doesn’t mean I always do, but I try!) Try sitting quietly and just watching your breath without trying to control it for five minutes. If your mind wanders just gently bring it back to the breath.