THE BLOG

If Meditation Is Supposed to Quiet Your Mind, Why Is it So Noisy in Here?

06/18/2014 11:18 am ET | Updated Aug 18, 2014
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Be patient. Things are happening behind the scenes that can't be seen on the surface. -- Mandy Hale

In my first blog (I'm sure you've all read it, and if you haven't, you should), I set the stage for what I wanted to accomplish in my pursuit of a Third Metric Life: to unplug from my devices a bit and plug in with me. I'm trying to reconnect with myself, be present in the moment and give my full self to what I'm doing. I would like to share my journey with you.

I began practicing daily meditation, devoting concentrated time in order to:

  • Focus on the internal and allow my mind and body to catch up with each other;
  • Connect with my feelings instead of my thoughts;
  • Achieve inner peace (i.e., clarity).

So... I blocked out time on my calendar, as I would for any important appointment. After all, if we schedule time to go to the gym for physical health and fitness, why not do the same for a mental workout to maintain fitness of mind and spirit? Although I wasn't convinced that 10 minutes a day of focusing on how I felt in the here and now would make me feel any better, I found a quiet pool in a corner of my world and jumped into the deep end, head first (pun intended).

I kept a mental diary of my learning curve:

Day 1 -- I couldn't sit still. I fidgeted in the chair, and my mind was all over the place. I found it hard to calm the inner traffic and stay focused. I was concerned about getting it right. The exercise wasn't life changing.

Day 2 -- It seemed as if I did nothing but hold my breath. I sat on the edge of the chair and got up and walked around when my thoughts tried to take over and break the peace. I tried to let them drift out of my mind and return to just focusing on my breath. Frustrating!

Day 3 -- Lots of noise going on in my mind... thoughts of living a life in which I was more present were elbowed out with run-of-the-mill to-do lists -- like what to pack for an upcoming trip. I couldn't switch off my restless mind and get away from my thoughts. I found it even more disquieting to try and turn it off.

Day 4 -- I opted for a more natural setting as I was drawn to a nearby courtyard with a calming waterfall; when just one month ago, I might not even have been pulled to this open space in the middle of my work day. Through the years, I've probably walked by this quaint spot, oblivious, more times than I can count. The random thoughts accelerating through my brain mirrored the helter-skelter pedestrian traffic moving along the sidewalks. Too distracting! I didn't feel enlightened or carried away to another place.

Day 5 -- Lots of thoughts floated up to the surface. It felt like I had many more thoughts swirling around in my head than when I started the first day. I couldn't turn off the noise in my brain. I didn't seem to be able to stay in the space where I thought I should be. Nothing clicked into place. The practice was anything but refreshing.

As an event and TV producer, one could imagine my life is never quiet; it revolves around structure, processes and timelines, requiring attention to a million and one details. So the silence that accompanies meditation is somewhat deafening. Prior to trying meditation, I thought managing hospitality programs for thousands of people from all over the world during the Olympics was difficult! That was my definition of difficult! Somehow bringing my world closer to home is even more difficult.

My default setting is always to be doing something. It's not in my DNA to be still or exist without external stimulation. Before starting meditation, I never sat down to just be, to give my mind the space to just be for a short period of time. Communing with myself on a personal level is foreign to me. Removing all outside stimuli and simply experiencing a relationship with my mind was a muscle I didn't think I knew how to flex. I kept chanting to myself, "Just be still, let it unfold."

The effort to meditate -- at least for me -- seems to create more discord than harmony, for now. Perhaps it's important to remind myself that I'm just a beginner at this new way of relating to the world and to myself within it. Meditation is another step towards redefining success in my life from a highly personal and unfamiliar form of observation, a process which can at times be uncomfortable. Learning to be still and listen to the silence on a path towards self-awareness is an acquired skill.

I'll continue to keep you posted on my progress. Stay well. Stay at peace. And stay tuned for the next episode of this journey.