Have you ever had a snow globe... one of those glass orbs that you shake and then watch the glittery snow falling on a cute winter scene? Remember how the ‘snow’ takes ages to completely settle? Well, believe it or not, snow globes are a great way to understand what is happening in our mind when we try to be mindful or meditate.
Let me explain!
Imagine that the globe represents our mind and the “snow” represents our thoughts. Our mind will never be really free of thoughts (because it’s the mind’s job to think, so it will keep generating thoughts no matter what we are doing) but our thoughts can slow and settle, just like the snow in the snow globe.
As we go about our various tasks each day, the more we do, the more we ‘shake’ and activate our mind. If you think about this for a minute you might recognise that when you have been busy, even when you stop your mind is still very much on the go. This is one of the reasons why it’s harder to practice mindfulness or feel completely relaxed while you are doing something else. Literally, the physical activity continues to activate the mind and thinking.
What you can do to “settle your snow” is to stop. Sit (or lie!) down. Just be physically still for a few minutes. It’s a really interesting experiment to notice how many minutes it takes for you to notice that your “snow” is settling – or in other words, to become aware that your mind is slowing down, and the pace and volume of your thoughts are reducing. It will happen most quickly if you stay perfectly still, close your eyes and breathe gently and quietly. But it still might take 5 or 10 minutes - or more.
People who have tried meditating often say they find it hard – and this is one of the reasons! Just like you often need to warm up at the beginning of an exercise session and find your body starts to settle more comfortably into the run or swim after 5 or 10 minutes, so it is with meditation. Before we can experience the calmness and peacefulness of mindfulness meditation, we just need to give our snow time to settle.
Liz Weatherly, Mindfulness and Mindset Teacher.
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