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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Observe Yourself

The first step in self observation is the ability to calm the mind.  I'm not talking about stopping thoughts because that is basically impossible.  Calming the mind means to slow down the speed and frequency at which negative and unnessary thoughts enter the mind.  For example, if you can't go to sleep because negative thoughts keep coming up you have a problem.  If negative thoughts interfere with daily activities then your mind is out of control and isn't calm.

If you sit quietly and focus directly on your breathing you will sooner or later notice the process of thinking going on. If the thoughts are images of events that have happened or things that might happen, they are unnessary thoughts.  If the thoughts are voices of you carrying on a conversation with someone, they are unnessary.  Both negative and unnessary thoughts are incessant thoughts that are not conducive to a quiet and calm mind.  A calm mind has very few negative and unnessary thoughts.

The mind's job is to move and when it is not controlled it can get out of hand.  To calm the mind requires focusing it on one single object like the breath or an image.  This gives the mind something to do and in the process it will eventually become calmer.  The breath is excellent on which to focus because it is always present as long as you are alive. 

There are many techniques in using just the breath for calming the mind but I am going to suggest this one simple technique that is guaranteed to work.  When you want to calm your mind simply breathe slowly in the nose and slowly out as you count each breath. The goal is to reach 15.  Every time a negative or an unnessary thought appears you must start over with one.  When you reach 15 your mind will be calm.

Next - What to do once the mind is calm.

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