Welcome back to the Growing Tree of Life, our weekly exploration of personal growth and well-being.
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Issue Number: #076
Date: 09 July 2024
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Achieving Stillness of Mind

A Simple Exercise to Clear Your Mind and Gain Control Over Thoughts

I had a conversation with a friend, and she mentioned the stillness of mind. Curious, I asked her what she meant. She sent me an article link. If you're not familiar with the term, it refers to calming a mind full of thoughts. Even when you try to meditate, your thoughts pull you away. I had my share of this problem.

Reading the article, I found it explained stillness well but it didn’t offer much practical advice. If you've struggled with a constant stream of thoughts, I understand. I've been there too. But I discovered a tool that helped me achieve a still mind and distance myself from my thoughts.

Why is distancing from your thoughts important?

On lower levels of consciousness, we don’t realise we aren’t our thoughts. We also don’t realise our thoughts aren’t always true and can create problems in our lives. How do I know? I've experienced it. My mind would be distracted, unable to stop thinking, creating wild future scenarios or revisiting the past over and over.

Achieving stillness helped me realise who I am and who I am not. It allowed me to see things clearly and decide which thoughts are helpful and which aren’t.

On a biological level, thoughts are random sparks of energy created by hormones and chemicals in our brain. But there’s more to it. The biggest challenge in achieving stillness often lies with those who are materially and scientifically oriented. They may struggle to accept there’s more to our brains than just chemical reactions.

Thoughts reflect a living force within us. Understanding we live on three planes—body, soul, and spirit—is crucial for moving through life with awareness and achieving higher levels of consciousness. Level four—Creator—is not achievable if you avoid spirituality. Level three—Custodian—is impossible without understanding the concept of Soul.

If you see yourself only as a cluster of cells without recognising the divine spark within, you’ll struggle to achieve true stillness of mind and your full potential.

So, what did I do to find peace and stillness? And how can you go through this process? Here’s an exercise that helped me:

1. Find a comfortable position—sit or lie down.
2. Stay still; inevitably, thoughts will come.
3. Visualise yourself leaving your body and floating above it.
4. Look down at your body sitting or lying there.
5. Observe yourself thinking about your problems or thoughts.
6. Detach further—imagine leaving the being that is observing your body below, floating higher and observing the person who's observing the first person.
7. Continue this process until you see yourself divided into three or four different beings, each observing the previous being.

This exercise shows that your first thoughts are in the first person. Then another thought observes that person, and yet another thought observes the observer.

Who is observing all these people?
That’s the key insight: You.

You have thoughts but you are not your thoughts because you can observe them.

Realising this will help you achieve stillness.

The next step is to use breathing exercises instead of trying not to think about anything. In newsletter #007, I described the Box breathing exercise. It was scientifically proven that this exercise brings bigger benefits than meditation and brings them faster.

Here is a short summary of this exercise:

1. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
2. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
3. Exhale through your nose for a count of 4.
4. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
5. Repeat for 3-5 minutes.

Counting keeps your mind engaged, preventing random thoughts, and teaches your mind to stay still. For full details, read the newsletter "This is a better and simpler tool than meditation. #007"

So here you have it.

Today's Tip:

Understanding that we are more than our bodies and thoughts is essential for achieving higher levels of consciousness and stillness of mind.
  • By practising observation and detachment exercises, you gain clarity and control over your thoughts.
  • By practising the Box breathing exercise, you practice presence and detachment from your thoughts.
Keep practising these exercises regularly, and you'll gradually find it easier to achieve that elusive stillness of mind.

Till next time and happy breathing!

That's all for today. Thank you for reading and see you next Tuesday.

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