Meditation and the Myth of the Empty Mind

When people talk about meditation, I often hear some talk about emptying your mind. They say that the goal of meditation is to clear your mind of everything and allow your mind to be empty.

I see it a bit differently than that.

Now, just to let you know, for a few years, I tried the whole empty your mind thing. I never quite got it. There was always something there. No matter how hard I tried, I was always thinking of something.

And there are many experts in the area of meditation that say you just keep trying and perhaps over a lifetime, you can achieve the empty mind.

Well, I’ve thought long and hard about it and settled on some ideas that help me more than the empty mind concept.

There may be some that reach it or at least a lot of people who want to continue to strive for it. I just haven’t found success with it. I get more frustrated than focused.

Here’s what I do find helpful. Using meditation to drill in my focus on one thing.

At the beginning of a martial arts class, I sit with my eyes closed and breath. I pick one thing that I want to be laser focused on and try to shut everything else out.

That is something I can do with much success.

In fact, a lot of the people I’ve come across that teach the idea of an empty mind being the goal usually tell you to start by focusing on one thing. They suggest picturing a candle in your mind and focusing on the fluttering flame. Or focusing on your breath, in and out, lungs filling and emptying.

The difference here that I see between the empty mind goal and the way I go about it is that instead of picking something random like a candle as my object for the inevitable thing I focus on, I pick one thing that I actually want to focus on and try to laser in on that for the goal of heightened clarity on that thing.

Who knows, maybe some day I’ll reach the empty mind after a lifetime of meditation.

In the meantime, I’m going to use all that practice focusing to good use on something specific.

– Crowe SeonSaengNim



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