3 Easy Ways to Clear Your Mind While Meditating

3 easy ways to clear your mind while meditating

When I first started meditating, my mind was like a whirlwind. Thoughts of my past and future raced through my mind, as though they were being controlled by the Energizer Bunny.

What are you going to eat for dinner? What time is that meeting tomorrow? 9 a.m.? No…10 a.m.? Wait is your doctor’s appointment Wednesday or Thursday morning? Was that text you sent your B.F. rude? Is that why he isn’t responding? Maybe he’s mad at you. OMG did you forget another anniversary?

At first, it was frustrating. I felt as though I wasn’t “doing” meditation right, and I thought it was a waste of my time. My practical side wanted to give up, but my stubborn side wasn’t ready to let me. I knew the scientific benefits of meditation, and I’ve also never been one to shy from a challenge.

So I meditated. Day after day, I trained myself slowly but surely to sit in silence. It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of practice and experimentation. Luckily, after a few months, the journey paid off.

Not only am I finally able to sit in peace for long periods of time, but I also learned what works and what doesn’t for beginning meditators. Below are three of the most effective ways to jump-start your meditation practice.

1. Listen to binaural beats. They gave them a cool name for a reason.

binaural beats

After watching hundreds of meditation videos on good-old YouTube, I finally found meditation music that really worked for me. When I listen to it, I am able to this deep state of peace and relaxation. In fact, I am able to go so deep into my meditation that I once found myself unexpectedly crying. Luckily, I was alone for that.

At the time, I didn’t know what it was about the music. I thought I just really enjoyed it. But, as I continued to learn more about meditation, I discovered that the sound that had so captivated me was called a binaural beat.

Binaural beats essentially create auditory illusions in the mind. This occurs when you put two different sounds into the ears — each with a different frequency.

For example, if a 495 Hz pure tone is presented to the right ear, while a 500 Hz tone is presented to the left ear, the listener will not only hear those two tones, but will also “hear” a third tone, called a binaural beat. In this case, the binaural beat with have a frequency of 5 Hz or the difference between the two tones presented to the ears.

Binaural beats are important because they correspond to brain waves that naturally occur in our minds at different times. In general, the slower the brain wave, the less active the mind. This makes binaural beats a powerful way to “trick” our minds into a certain state — meditative or otherwise.

When we hear a binaural beat, we automatically go into the state of mind we are in when those waves naturally occur in the mind. For example, if we “hear” theta waves in the form of binaural beats, we get relaxed because theta waves are what naturally occur in the mind when we are relaxed.

Essentially, instead of being relaxed first and producing theta waves second, we produce theta waves first (through binaural beats) then become relaxed second. It’s kind of like smiling to trick ourselves into thinking we’re happy.

2. Give yourself something to focus on. And avoid the white bear at all costs.

In college, I read a book called “White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts”. The premise of the book is that if you tell yourself not to think about a white bear, it is guaranteed that you will think about a white bear. Telling your mind not to think about something simply doesn’t work.

white bear

What does work, however, is giving your mind something to focus on. That’s why doing breath meditations, counting meditations, or chanting meditations can be so helpful. Fortunately, you can tell your mind what you do want it to focus.

Don’t get me wrong, your mind will still rebel at times, and that’s okay. Each time it does, simply bring it back to the desired object of focus with understanding and compassion. Luckily, with diligence and practice, you will be able to build your focus, just as if you were building up the strength of a muscle. Over time, the mind will stray less and less, and your meditations will become easier and easier.

3. Stop trying. If you’re doing it, you’re doing it right. Promise.

One of the most common insecurities people have regarding meditation is the fear of whether they are “doing it right” or not. There are so many ways to meditate, and there really is no right or wrong way, which admittedly can drive perfectionists like me crazy.

You can think of meditation like walking. There is no right or wrong way to walk. You can walk at different speeds with pressure on different parts of the foot, but it really doesn’t matter. If you’re moving on your feet, you’re walking.

Same thing goes for meditation — if you’re sitting in silence, you’re meditating. It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting up or lying down. It doesn’t matter if you listen to music or have someone guiding you. All that matters is that you are sitting alone with your mind and practicing being in a peaceful state.

About The Author

Nicole McIntyre

Nicole believes that everyone deserves to be happy and enjoy their lives. Her mission is to make the world a little happier and a little less stressed through meditation, education, and thought. Join her at http://facebook.com/groups/outsmartinglife.

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