When you sit down and close your eyes, what does your brain do? Where does it go? Go ahead and give it a try. Mine generally goes twirling around. First I might think about why I’m closing my eyes? What’s for lunch? What do I need at the grocery store? Did I feed Charlie? Did I lock the door? I think and have read that this is totally normal or at least it’s what most of our minds do without doing any sort of “training” for our brain. That’s how I see mindfulness-reps for my brain. And as a result, my brain is stronger (so I’ve heard) but definitely more relaxed and focused.
I was in my doctor’s office the other day and decided to close my eyes and take a few minutes to get mindful. My first thought was trying to predict what my doctor would say. When I recognized that I was having a thought, I interjected another thought, which was, “back to breathing”. I went back to focusing on my breath then someone walked through the office door. I acknowledged a thought about that then I thought, “back to breathing”. I continued to do this until my name was called and I went in to see the doctor. As I waited in the next room, I did the same thing. This is how my mindfulness practice goes. I sit, close my eyes, breathe, be in my body and then my brain starts going. So, without judgment, I acknowledge the thoughts passing through and return to my breathing. By the way, the doctor did not say what I predicted he would say. Shocker, I know.
Sometimes I’m able to stay focused on my breath for more than five breaths but some days it’s one breath and then I need to redirect my brain. By doing this on a regular basis though, I have “trained” my brain to get to the quiet, relaxed, focused place a lot quicker. When I’m in that place, I feel patient and loving. When I’m in the rushing, anxious place, I feel uncomfortable. Each day it’s my choice, where do I want to go today?