Why the Language of “Clearing the Mind” in Meditation Is Harmful

by | Sep 4, 2021

Not long ago I started a wonderful Facebook community called “Self-Care for Remote Workers” and in there I encourage all new members to introduce themselves and share about their journey with self-care. One share stood out to me, as the person shared something that I think many people struggle with.

She said:

“Sometimes I feel the need to wind down, but can’t stop my brain..something I need to practice more!”

This is common – the idea that in order to be calm and relaxed we should “stop” our brains, stop thinking, quiet the mind, silence our thoughts. This lingo is being used a lot when it comes to mindfulness, spirituality, and relaxation practices. I have used it in the past because this is what I have learned in many trainings. But, and this is a huge BUT, I now believe that this language is actually harmful. It is harmful to people living in the world, people with families, partners, friends, jobs, and businesses. It is harmful because it makes us feel like we fail when we can’t “stop our brains” and it suggests that we can only relax if we can achieve a “quiet mind”.

This is wrong!

By trying to quiet our minds while having SO MANY THINGS going on in our lives, we hurt ourselves because it isn’t possible. And if it is then only for a second or even split-second, then our mind starts speaking to us again – because THIS IS ITS NATURAL STATE, not a failure!

I have a different suggestion for you today:

How about when you sit down to relax – maybe you already have a meditation practice, or you sit down to have tea or coffee, or you like relaxing while jogging, whatever it is that you do – instead of trying to quiet your mind 👉 let your thoughts roam, enjoy where they go, let yourself dream and plan and indulge. The only difference to everyday worrying that you have here is that you don’t act on it at the moment. You can make mental notes of it, to come back to that thought after your relaxation time. Simply enjoy and explore your mind and all its crazy shenanigans. There might come a moment where your mind goes quiet, but then when it turns back on (and it will – quickly) you haven’t failed. You have just acted as nature made it out to be. You succeeded. Observe afterward how this feels as opposed to trying to “clear your mind”.

Share your experience

I would love to hear about your experience with this exercise – if you want to share, feel free to join my FB community “Self-Care for Remote Workers” today 😊❤️

PS: This is what your mind is allowed to feel #freeeeeeedom 😎👇😉