In this podcast Billabong Retreat teacher Basia Nowacki looks at our tendency to have busy minds and provides some simple tips for how to reduce any negative effects from this.

About Basia:

Basia is a yoga and meditation teacher, known for her down to earth kindness, warm and calming spirit. She runs the 4 Meditation Essentials retreat 1 per month at Billabong Retreat.

She teachers and inspires acceptance of what is, living in the present moment, connecting to your essence and higher self and integration of yoga into your daily life. Basia studied classical yoga with Michael de Manincor at the Yoga Institute in the Krishnamacharya tradition.

Basia is also a transpersonal coach. Her work as a transpersonal coach is to help facilitate higher awareness and body-mind wisdom, uncovering the answers from within.


Full Article Text
Whenever we practice meditation, we are practicing being present.
Being here in the now. And this can be challenging for our minds, because the very nature of our mind is to solve problems – so therefore be busy ‘working’ – thinking.

Now if we investigate we see that while this initially sounds like a good thing, I mean yes, I would want my mind to be solving my problems,… but unfortunately it doesn’t always work that effectively.

If we spend some time observing our mind, looking to where it goes to, how it thinks, we actually realise a lot of the time it repeats thoughts, it see’s the negative side of things – or you could say it has a negativity bias, and it replays a lot of the past or at least it’s heavily influenced by the past on your current thoughts.

So this is a really helpful experience to have, to not just understand it intellectually but to experience, the non helpfulness of our thoughts.

And the reason that this is helpful is it assists us to let thoughts go.
And that is extremely beneficial in any mindfulness practice.

The truth is, if we examine ourselves, we have a bit of a love affair with our thoughts. Deep down inside, we actually think we are being very productive in letting thoughts go on, and by thinking consistently over and over about it we will come to an answer.

So to actually experience the truth of the matter is more important than to just understand it. And so that’s why I recommend this practice – a meditation practice where we label our thoughts.

If you like after listening to this, put a timer for 5-10 minutes ( how ever long you have) and for the duration of that time, see if you can just focus on your breath, coming in and coming out, and then, any time you have a thought – write it down.
You don’t have to write down the whole thought but write down the theme, the topic of the thought, something that would jolt your memory about the thought. And then the moment you write it down, let it go and return back to watching your breath.
And simply continue this practice for the remainder of the time.

Now the interesting part is actually once the timer has gone off. And you start to look at your thoughts. Start to examine what your thoughts were, and see if there’s any patterns, are the past/future thoughts, worry/fearful thoughts, any repetitive thoughts (more applicable to longer sits) and then my favourite part how many of your thoughts were actually helpful? beneficial? useful, and cross all the useless thoughts out.

If you’re wondering what a useful thought is, see it as an inspired new thought, one that you have not had before.
If you look at it, and are not sure, ask yourself, was it helpful for me to think of this when practicing meditation, when practicing being present.

We can then see it would be more useful to set time aside to think and solve and let the other time of our life be filled with presence.

So looking back at the things you wrote, should hopefully show you how not useful your thinking actually is.

So next time your are practicing mindfulness or simply being present, and those thoughts interrupt you, you can smile at them, recognising from experience that they are not important, they are probably repetitive, and so you can let them go and come back to just being fully present here.