When we begin our meditation practice, we really start to become aware of the persisting chattering in our minds that perhaps went unnoticed before we began our journey. The mind shouts for our attention justifying its importance with time-keeping reminders and bilge.
Remember this: YOU are the awareness of this chatter. The chatter is NOT you. So observe it. Remark to yourself, ‘This chatter is quite a peculiar happening. It is coasting along without me. I will sit calmly here and watch it, and see where it goes.’
The one thing not to do here is to give any energy to any particular thought that travels through. Simply let them come and go. Know that if there was a useful reminder about something important that it will still be available to you in 5 minutes time when you come out of your practice.
With repetition of this exercise and time, the chatter will give way to growing periods of silence or stillness as the mind releases its grip on the internal window and gains confidence to be without content for longer periods. This silence is intensely nourishing for the soul. Meditating for 10 minutes where 9 minutes are spent watching the chatter and 1 minute is spent witnessing the silence is a great achievement.
Even if you don’t find silence on your first attempts (and you probably will not) acknowledge your commitment and your intention. Keep the attitude clean and positive. Every time you are sitting down to practice, you are closer to finding the silence. Every step is crucial for the journey.
With practice, persistence, forgiveness and non-judgement, you will develop your ability to reach the point of silence or emptiness and maintain it for a few minutes. You have now become the neutral witness of your thoughts. You have learned through experience that you and your thoughts are separate. You now know yourself to be the awareness in which thought arises.
This is a huge lesson. It changes everything.