When I meditate I focus on sound as a way to still the chatter in my mind. Listening to the noises around me is a gateway exercise to meditation. I pay attention to the sound of my breathing, the sound of the city humming in the distance and anything else that makes a guest appearance like a plane rumbling high overhead or our cat padding softly down the passage. It quiets my mind and keeps me in the room. If a random thought appears then I try to observe it and watch it go past. If I attach to it and start unpacking it then I’m distracted and I’ve lost the moment. The mind has been described as a playful monkey 🐒 which really makes sense to me when I’m trying keep my mine still.
The other night I was oscillating between a calm mind and random thoughts when I heard someone jogging outside on the street. It was one of those hot and still nights – the kind where sound travels better than normal and it’s crystal clear. I heard the runner coming closer and closer and finally pass the front of the house and then slowly get softer and softer into the distance. It was a perfect illustration of how I should deal with the random thoughts entering my head. Listen to them coming, witness them as they pass by and then let them go. Don’t try to fight them or block them out, but just observe them. I settled back into breathing but this time surrendered. Taking deep breaths, I observed the thoughts as they entered my head and let them move past me and move away.
It was great lesson in meditation. The monkey mind was still there, but I wasn’t trying to catch it.