A Mind-Clearing Habit

Pond rippleI have a habit of throat clearing. It seems there’s often a froggy sensation that simply must be cleared. Until the other day, I’d never thought of the possibility of clearing other parts of the body…or the psyche, at least in any kind of routine way.

An idea came up last week when we co-hosted a couple of amazing musicians. Their names are Gina Sala and Daniel Paul. Both are highly respected for kirtan, a kind of meditative music most people associate with yoga classes. Kirtan is sometimes described as “yoga for the voice.”

It’s a form of chanting that becomes a meditation for the heart through song. I’ve noticed that it’s also very useful for the mind. According to many ancient traditions, chanting the names of God brings us closer to him/her/the mystery. I’m all for that, in theory. But in reality, sometimes my mind balks a bit.

Two or three members of my family play and sing kirtan at events and festivals. So I’m around it a lot. And I’ve come to appreciate the meditative repetition of the songs. Except when my thinking gets in the way. When my mind is convinced it has people to see, things to do besides settling into the practice. Some days that’s 90% of the time. But meditation has taught me that there’s always hope for people like me. For the thinkers.

All that mind chatter we do can get very tiring. So Gina shared a perfect mantra for the head. Here’s how it goes:

Pat your head gently, sweetly thanking it for all it gives.

Next (repeat while bringing the hand over the face from the top of the head): “Oh sweet mind, I love you.”

When I do this, it seems like my thinking mind just loves to be recognized. This is part of the magic.

But, even better, by repeating this phrase to my head, I remind myself that I’m not my mind.

It’s a little wake-up tap.

A blessing. And not a bad habit, either.

The habit of remembering.

What habits do you have for remembering what’s important to you or who you really are? Prayer, rosary or mala beads, breath, writing, singing. Anything can become a way of remembering what’s deeply True for you. Not your mind. You. The sweet essential being that is You.

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