So how do you still your mind?

Dear Toby Ouvry,

You may have heard that meditating means to still the mind, but how do you actually do that, and what are the benefits? The article below considers these questions, and offers a simple practice you can do anytime!

At this Tuesday & Wednesday‘s meditation class we will be doing a class on stilling the mind, so do come along if you are available!

Underneath the article you can find the schedule of classes and workshops for April…

In the spirit of stillness,


Meditation Means to Still the Mind (Positive Amnesia)

We constantly try to solve our inner problems and find inner peace by using their mind to ”think” our way out, and it is certainly true that we can find many solutions to our problems using our mind.
However, it is also true that peace of mind is available to you at any time simply by stopping thinking and relaxing into a state of non-thinking stillness. If you can stop yourself thinking, then peace and inner well-being will arise naturally and easily from your consciousness. This is because peace, wholeness, and stability are the nature of your consciousness when there are no thoughts getting in the way.
So of course simply stopping thinking and resting in stillness will not solve all your problems. However, it will enable you to enjoy inner peace regularly, and this peace then gives you the perspective that you need in order to face your life challenges with much greater stability and sanity.

So, stilling the mind, is an essential skill that we are trying to develop in meditation. In many meditation schools such as Zen, moving into a state of stillness and non-thinking is emphasized as a major goal right from the beginning, it is THE training. The technique I explain below is a simple, uncomplicated way of moving into stillness that you can use anytime you want.

Stillness through non- thought: Amnesia or becoming a Simpleton.
This meditation technique involves an act of imagination, where you either imagine:

  • That you have suddenly been afflicted with amnesia and can remember nothing, not even your name
  • Or that you have become a complete simpleton. You have become so simple-minded or ”stupid” that you can no longer even string a sentence together!

Sitting quietly, just maintain the recognition of your amnesia or simpleton-ness. When thoughts, memories or images arise, remember that you have amnesia, or that you are too ‘stupid’ to hold the stream of thought together in your mind.
Practicing in this way, let your mind gradually become more and more relaxed, with less and less thought arising. From this absence of thought will come a sense of stillness. When you get good at this, you will be able to let your mind rest in a state of no-thought for longer and longer periods of time. This will give you a tangible experience each day of inner peace, and allow your body-mind mind to relax deeply.

Question: Won’t meditating on no-mind in this way actually make me more stupid, less intelligent and more forgetful??
Answer: Quite simply, no. We are using our imagination here to create a condition of stillness and no-thought. This then allows our mind to really have a good rest and recuperate its energy, which in turn results in an increase in our awareness, clarity and intelligence. It should also result in an improvement in mental factors such as memory.

Once you become used to practising amnesia or being a simpleton, you will discover that you can use it in many different situations in your daily life. For example, if you find that as you walk down the street your mind is commenting in a negative way on all the passers-by, you can simply ”switch it off” and ride out your difficult mood in relative inner silence, without making it any worse than it needs to be.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday’s in March/April – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice
Saturday 14th April 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday 28th April, 9.30am-1pm – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical meditations & techniques for working with your shadow-self

Saturday May 26th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Zen Walking Meditation Workshop

Sunday 20th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop

Integral Meditation Asia

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