Allowing your mind to be messy

Dear Integral Meditators,

Often when we need most to be mindful is often the time when we feel like doing it the least. The article below explains a method of being mindful that you can use when your mind and life are at their most chaotic and mindfulness seems most difficult!

In the spirit of the happily messy,


Allowing your mind to be messy

Often when we need most to be mindful is often the time when we feel like doing it the least. The meditation technique below is for when your mind and life feel chaotic, messy or when it is difficult for you to focus. For example:

  • When you are so anxious or exited by something that your mind won’t settle
  • When you are ill or taking a medication that impairs your ability to focus
  • When your life feels disorganized
  • When fatigue or pain in the body inhibits concentration
  • When you have jet lag or you can’t fall asleep due to the activity of the mind and emotions

The technique is very simple; you take one slightly deeper, centering breath to focus your attention, then you practice being aware of and accepting the messiness of your mind. Observe how it feels; the sprangled thoughts, the tension in the body, the texture, the dis-orientation and so forth. Watch and observe the messiness of your mind in this way, every now and again coming back to a single centering breath, and then continuing to watch and accept the messiness. That’s basically it!
The ‘technology’ here is that the act of accepting and observing itself allows the mind to start to settle and relax. By accepting the mess, you start to build a tidy little spot in the middle of it that you can rest in.

Today I am tired and sleep deprived, I have a number of appointments I’m working my way thru before packing tonight and flying for a trip tomorrow. My mind and circumstances feel ‘messy’, unsettled, frenetic. The technique above is simply the one I have been using myself to approach my circumstances mindfully; to relax and enjoy the mess.

It’s possible to be messy and mindful at the same time!

© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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