Clear Your Mind For Better Meditation

Ancient traditions have taught the value of emptying your mind. Before you can sit down to meditate, pray or study, your mind must be clear and receptive to new thoughts. It must be clear for you to focus.

Jesus seemed always to have a clear mind and ultimate focus. Peter, on the other hand, did not seem to reach that level of maturity until later in life. He seemed always to be in a jumble of thoughts and questions.

So, how do you clear your mind so that you can turn your attention to the task at hand? Here are some thoughts.

  • Write. Yes, always have paper or note cards and a pen. If “mom” is on your mind, there must be a reason. Write down the action you must take (buy present, call her, send a note, etc.). There. It’s out of your mind. When your mind is full of “stuff” that you must do, write them down, then make a to-do list. It’s out of your mind, and you can concentrate on what matters at the moment.
  • Breathe. OK, we breathe naturally all the time (or you wouldn’t be reading this!). How are you breathing? Short, shallow breaths? Focus on your breath (in ancient Greek, same word as spirit, the ancients knew this). Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Word. Sometimes repeating a word helps focus. It can be just a sound, such as , “ahhh” or “ohhh.” I used to repeat the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me). Then I just shortened it to “God.” I like one syllable. Some people like spirit or Jesus. Some of you may have heard of the Sanskrit word from the Hindu tradition, “Om” (pronounced sort of “ahoooommmm” with the m sound more like a vibration). The idea is not magic. It’s to focus the mind and clear out all the rambling thoughts.
  • Relax. You can meditate lying on your back, sitting in a chair or on the floor or walking. But the three practices above should help you relax so that you’re receptive to murmurings of the Spirit.

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