I know people who just about literally cannot tolerate inner stillness. On the outside they fidget and fumble and squirm. Constantly toe tapping and needing to move their fingers or hands in some way. When trying to meditate they find it practically impossible to keep their eyes closed.
In my experience, this kind of behavior is mostly the symptom of no attention being directed to the mind. For these people the mind is the controller and is the component of who they think they are with which they most strongly identify. In fact, there are many people who can hardly imagine existing as something separate from their thoughts.
Once someone can grasp even a very basic understanding of the truth that they who they are is not what they think, then the aforementioned symptoms begin to lessen and subside. They will incrementally be able to tolerate being still – first on the outside and then within. Still, once the outside is effectively under control (at least sufficiently for any kind of meditative work) there are many challenges faced within. And just about every teacher I’ve known of has recommended a very similar approach to tackling the challenges within – that still pertain to a lack of stillness.
Notice your thoughts if / when they arise, but let them keep moving. These teachers say this and go further to assure us that these thoughts are not the enemy, but rather are minor distractions at best. They are also consistent in advising that there’s really no difference between pleasant thoughts or unpleasant ones. Treat them all as identically as you are able. Notice when they arise, and let them keep moving. Eckhart Tolle even goes into detail regarding the nature of the ego and the pain body, and how these form the foundation of much of our thought life. He also details the benefit of destroying their grip and power by shedding the light of consciousness / awareness onto them.
We think of things we need to do. We think of why we need to do them. Sometimes we think of why we do or do not want to do them. We’re usually experts at mentally reliving situations that have come and gone – rehashing them in our own way. Our thoughts and the various ways we cling to them create thick energetic vortices that, like tornados or whirlpools, can be quite strong and even dangerous.
So developing the ability to simply see your thoughts as being different and separate from your real self, and then going one step beyond that to peaceably allowing these things to come into view and then leave your sight can make all the difference in one’s meditation and spiritual development.
Recently, a good friend of mine told me of a “mantra” that had been shared with him by one of his own friends. Surprisingly, I’ve found it actually quite effective and ridiculously simple. I’ll tell you what I know about this in an upcoming post.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha