A busy mind can drive us crazy. To get a handle on it, notice how the mind goes to only five places. Sorting your mental stuff into these five categories helps you
– find the quiet space
– become fully present to this moment
– sharpens your intuition.
Helen Palmer developed this meditation on the five categories of busy-mind. The categories are
- feelings (emotion or physical sensation)
Helen Palmer uses two stages in this approach.
First you go “In and Down” into yourself, into your quiet belly.
Secondly you engage in “Loosening and Letting Go” each of the five mental categories.
Start by going within.
Take a comfortable seat with your spine straight but relaxed. Breathe deeply into your belly. Allow all your muscles to soften.
Place your attention on the far wall – whichever wall is furthest from you.
Now place your attention on the wall behind you.
Place your attention on the floor in front of you.
Bring your attention to book reading distance, as if a book is floating in front of you.
Notice that you have charge of your attention, and your attention goes wherever you ask it to go.
This is no small thing, taking charge of the focus of your attention.
With the next in-breath, place your attention on the air itself as it flows into your nose, down your throat, into your lungs, down deep even further to the belly.
The belly is dark and soft. Let your attention rest in your belly.
Watch your belly stretch horizontally with every breath.
Allow the natural pace of your breath.
Observe your abdomen expanding and relaxing.
Stay down here in the belly, calm and comfortable.
For the second stage, Loosen and Let Go of each thing arising in your mind by naming it as one of the five categories.
Bring in a thought, any generic thought, like the weather or news. Notice it, then say, “This is a thought, and now I let it go.” Return to your belly, that soft place, and observe your breath.
Next bring in a memory – from childhood or from last week. See yourself in this memory, see the whole situation, the people, what you were wearing, the sensations, the smells.
Then step back and say, “This is a memory, and I release it now.” Breathe and return to your belly.
Call up a plan – maybe your grocery list, your vacation plan, or career path. See it, explore it a moment. But label it “Plan – this is a plan, and I put it away. I return to my breath and my belly.”
Bring in a fantasy, like winning the lottery or a trip to some exotic place you’ve never been. Any kind of fantasy. It’s yours. Let this fantasy dream take shape and gain sensory details.
Then mentally step back and remind yourself, “This is a fantasy, and I let it go.” Again return to your belly. Watch as the belly stretches with every breath.
Finally call up a feeling. It can be an emotion, like that sadness or anger you felt earlier today. It can be a physical feeling, a tight or sore spot in your body. Go into it for a moment. Let it be whatever it is.
Then say, “This is a feeling. Now I release it.” Return to your breath and your belly.
Return to the quiet soft space each time.
Returning in this way builds your Inner Observer.
Your Inner Observer shows you true awareness and broad perspective beyond ordinary busy life.
Anytime you meditate, allow the categories to arise spontaneously. Name each one and set it aside. Do not jump on and ride it into an illusion.
You have charge of your attention.
Here’s a cool benefit.
If something arises that does not fit any category, it may be your intuition talking.
This meditation habit leads to increased energy, peace, contentment, discernment, and clearer communication with your Source.
We send tons of gratitude to Helen Palmer for teaching this method to millions throughout the world in her decades of teaching meditation and the enneagram.
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Thanks to pixabay for this fun pic.