Meditation and Controlling the Restless Mind

By Carolita Hernandez, LTY trainee/2016

A beginner's journey into finding stillness in a windstorm

Developing a sound meditation practice has been at the top of my "to do" list for a while.  At different points of my life I have attempted to nudge myself into a regular habit of meditation, knowing good and well that I would greatly benefit from it.  I would find myself becoming discouraged by my inability to truly quiet all the restlessness and chatter of my "monkey mind" as the Buddha called it. My mental landscape during meditation felt like transistor radio flipping around from station to station....... And to be honest, even after cultivating my sadhana practice, I  still struggled.  I stumbled upon a passage in the Bhagavad Gita recently where Arjuna questions Krishna ... "How can the mind, which is so restless, attain lasting peace?  The mind is restless, turbulent, powerful, violent; trying to control it is like trying to tame the wind" And Krishna responds by explaining that all of this can be conquered by regular practice.  "Those who are self -controlled striving earnestly though the right means, will attain the goal" (Chapter 6, passage 35)

Since reading this, I am becoming more detached from judging and criticizing my meditation practice.  I think my downfall at the beginning was my annoyance with my mind. I am starting to see that the nature of the mind can be tumultuous and rowdy.... like a hyperactive kitten.  But, how often do we see with patience and a gentle approach that the wild kitten becomes relaxed......This is how I treat my mind now.  With compassion.  The thoughts and vignettes enter and I witness them.  I do my best to not engage them. And when that fails..... I have my breath to watch. So maybe over time and an earnest practice I will catch a glimpse of stillness.


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