Introduction to the Blue State of Stillness

6. Calm your mind

Option 1: Shorter Silences

Option 2: Longer Silences

Welcome back.

A busy mind often indicates high levels of NeuroUneasiness and protective Sympathetic Mobilization. This survival-oriented intense thinking is singularly focused on perceived threats, vigilantly scanning the environment for triggers and mobilizing brain power to prevent any harm.

Wellbeing and living-oriented thinking, which includes access to wisdom—your highest form of reasoning, emerges from high levels of NeuroCalmness, stillness, and Parasympathetic Rest.

During periods of restful stillness your mind’s default mode network becomes active. This large-scale brain network, which quietens during movement, promotes self-awareness, emotional wellbeing, and social engagement. It is involved in reflecting on oneself, considering others, remembering the past, and planning the future. Additionally, it aids in consolidating learning and memories, as well as processing and regulating emotions.

In this practice, you learn to gradually calm a busy mind and align it with restful stillness. This is achieved by gently and respectfully redirecting your attention back to your breath whenever survival-oriented thoughts become overly demanding and distract you from the practice of stillness.

Silencing the mind

During the practice of stillness, you may find yourself following thoughts instead of focusing on your breath. Attention-absorbing thoughts that exclude awareness of breathing are often associated with protective Sympathetic Mobilization.

Attempting to silence a busy mind can be counterproductive. Survival-oriented minds tend to resist being shut down and often generate more thoughts. Focusing on your breath, on the other hand, can naturally reduce the intensity of thinking. Instead of trying to eliminate intense thoughts, persist in focusing on and sensing your breath, allowing the mind to gradually calm itself.

It’s often more beneficial to delay engaging with survival and protection-oriented thoughts rather than trying to stop them entirely. This approach acknowledges the importance of these protective thoughts while highlighting the significance of cultivating thoughts oriented towards living and well-being.

If certain thoughts demand a lot of attention, respectfully acknowledge them, and evaluate their urgency at this moment. If possible, encourage yourself to postpone engaging with them until after the practice of stillness.

Prioritizing breath

Thinking and sensing are different forms of cognition that compete for neurological attention. Engaging in one typically reduces the other. To minimize analytic thinking and calm your mind, prioritize sensing by focusing on your breath and redirecting your attention to sensing your breath whenever you find yourself caught up in thoughts.

PROGRESS CHECKLIST

  • Can I detect when intense and absorbing thoughts draw my attention away from breath?
  • Can I prioritize following breath over following thoughts?
  • Can I gently redirect my attention back to breath whenever I become aware of following thoughts?
  • Can I patiently refocus on breath, without attempting to silence my mind?
  • Can I sense a gradual calming of the mind when I maintain awareness of my breath?
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