The Light Itself

The Light Itself

The basics of concentration

Quieting the Mind

This exercise will be the groundwork for your future concentration meditation practice. Its goal is to help you develop a more intimate relationship with your own mind and thoughts.

Practice this several times during the day while you are busy doing something that you can afford to do while being a little bit distracted (ex.: eating, taking a shower, in-between two tasks…).

Take a moment to look into your own mind and see your thoughts pass by. What are you thinking right now? Notice how thoughts come, then go away. Thoughts aren’t static, they keep flowing in and out of your attention. Look at them as if you were looking at fishes from the bank of a river. They enter your field of perception. They stay a little while. Then they go away. Don’t cling to any of them. Don’t analyze any of them. You can maybe put them in a category (memory, plan, desire, sensory reaction…). Just look at them without judging. Simply notice them as they come in and out of your mind.

With time, you will start noticing less and less thoughts are coming. When they are observed, thoughts become shy and they stop coming.

As you progress with this exercise, you should reach the following milestones:

  1. You notice most of your thoughts.
  2. You don’t cling to any of them and they don’t turn into a train of thoughts.
  3. You have moments where no thought arises. (Notice the peace!)
  4. Your exercise sessions are made of more silence than thoughts.
  5. You manage to silence your mind completely.
  6. You can comfortably do a session of this exercise where no thought arises.

If you like the peace of an empty mind, you will enjoy concentration meditation as it is the practice of exploring new sensations that arise when the mind stops.

Progressing through these milestones can potentially take a long time, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel much progress. It will come eventually.