Pamela Seelig

Author of Threads of Yoga

Available Now!

How To Declutter The Mind

Declutter Your Mental Space

A friend of mine is exceptional at organizing her home, a trait that, let’s say, I’m still working on.  Every once in a while I’ll ask what she’s up to and she’ll reply with purpose,  “I’m taking my closets back.”  When she puts it like that, I’m inspired to go home and conquer my closets or the pile of mail or whatever it is that has inevitably taken over.

This messy build-up also happens in the mind.  If we’re unaware of the thoughts repeating in our head, a mess of useless chatter builds and blocks out our sense of peace and spaciousness.  The mind unchecked can feel like anxiety, a sense of overwhelm, exhaustion or a lack of vitality.  As the ancient yogis taught: the mind unsupervised is like leaving a monkey or a toddler in charge - it will be messy.

The best way to clean out the mind is to meditate.  Pursuits such as running, gardening or crossword puzzles can also help manage thoughts (like straightening up the house), however, meditation cuts right to the point.  It is the practice of clearing out the mind and increasing awareness. Meditation aerates our mental space protecting us from draining mind chatter.

Try This Quick Meditation:
There are many meditation techniques but the most important and crucial step is to actually begin. (This first step eliminates 99% of potential meditators. Be part of the 1%!)

Here’s how:

Set a timer for five minutes.
Sit down with your back lengthened, eyes closed or gaze down.

Know that the mind is not going to drop into silence - that’s a meditation myth.

Bring your focus to your breath.  Take an inhale and as you exhale relax the body but keep the spine straight.

Inhale again and as you exhale relax the shoulders down away from the ears.

Inhale and on the third exhale relax the forehead and facial muscles.

Keep the breath slow and deep and feel the air moving inside the nose.

In a relaxed way, feel how the air is cooler on the way in, and warmer on the way out.

Continue slowly breathing and feel the air moving at the tip of the nose.

Thoughts will come in, notice how your attention moves to the thought.

When you notice you’re with a thought, with kindness, bring the attention back to the breath, ignoring the thought.  [Continue until timer beeps]

That’s the practice.  It’s very simple however not necessarily easy.  Meditating may be the most challenging practice you have ever taken on.  But rest assured, it will be rewarding in ways that you cannot anticipate and that are unique to you.

After one week, increase the meditation time to seven minutes, or even ten if you feel ready,  but always keep the time manageable.  This is a lifetime practice, there’s no rush to be a master (like the amazing Marie Kondo!).   I promise you will reap many astonishing rewards along the way.  Om shanti shanti.