People are drawn to different meditation techniques because they have different outcomes in mind. And while trying to make your mind blank during meditation is not the most common reason for meditating, it is an outcome that some people desire to achieve.
It is also something that I used to experience whenever I first began meditating more than twenty-five years ago. And a ‘blank mind’ is something that I can still achieve when I choose to.
However, now, making my mind blank is not the main focus of my meditations, and I’ll do my best to explain why in this article. So read on…..
Is It Possible To Make Your Mind Blank During Meditation?
Yes, it is possible to HAVE a blank mind during meditation. To MAKE your mind blank, however, is a different story! A blank mind implies no awareness of thoughts, feelings, or sensations…. no awareness of anything. This is very achievable, but not by ‘MAKING’ it happen. Making anything implies effort and action, and these things can never lead to a state of ‘nothingness.’
Why Do You Want To Achieve A Blank Mind During Meditation?
Many of us choose to meditate to achieve relief from our busy minds. A busy mind often equates to stress in our lives… we simply have too much going on that is demanding our attention.
We assume that if we can reduce the amount of mind chatter we have, then we will naturally be able to slow down, relax, and feel better. And if reducing the number of thoughts we have will help us…. then surely having no thoughts would be even better?
Normally, when we achieve a state of no thoughts or minimal thoughts, our mind is still anything but empty. It can still be aware of our feelings, emotions, images, patterns, and bodily sensations as well as what is happening in the surrounding environment.
And it’s perfectly OK to be aware of these things without attaching thoughts (and therefore judgments) to them….. Just allowing them to exist without our attention is allowing our ‘Being’ to experience them as they actually are.
This is what the practice of ‘mindfulness’ is all about…. Not thinking, not judging, but allowing our organ for experience (our mind) to still be full… Because in reality, our mind is designed to experience stuff, and with that in mind, we should be happy that it is doing a great job!
How I Achieve A Blank Mind During Meditation
When I first started meditating, I would come home after a stressful day at work, shower, and then collapse on my bed. I was worn out and would just let go of everything. Initially, there were thoughts and sensations…..
I would have the sensation of my body slowly expanding and collapsing, expanding and collapsing, and I found this incredible. So of course, I had some thoughts about it.
With time, (I don’t remember how many weeks later) I became very comfortable with the sensations so I no longer thought about them. But on some level was mildly aware of them….. My meditations were very relaxing and became something I really looked forward to each day.
However, as I was to discover, that was just one level of deep relaxation. Because at some point, I began to lose all connection to consciousness. It didn’t happen every time, but often when I lay down to meditate, the first few minutes were the familiar sensations, and then…. Nothing exists…. Nothing!
“Don’t hate the arising of thoughts or stop the thoughts that do arise. Simply realize that our original mind, right from the start, is beyond thought, so that no matter what, you never get involved with thoughts. Illuminate original mind, and no other understanding is necessary.” – Zen Master Bankei Yotaku
The only way I would know that I was meditating (or alive) was when I ‘came back’ or regained awareness of my thoughts, body sensations, and surroundings. I find it interesting that this ‘blankness’ typically lasts for about twenty minutes each time…. And that has not changed within the last twenty-five-plus years.
Now I can bring on this ‘blank state’ almost every time I choose to. And I do so sometimes just for the profoundly deep relaxation that it gives me…..
I regain awareness feeling so deeply relaxed on a physical, mental, and emotional level, that I cannot compare it to anything else I have ever experienced. It just feels so good!
Getting to this state is just about ’letting go.’ There is nothing to do, to try, to fix….. And the reality is that everything you do to try to achieve this state will just become another obstacle that prevents you from achieving a blank mind…. Just let go!
Is Trying To Achieve A Blank Mind The Best Way To Meditate?
Most of us consider that an agitated mind is a result of us thinking too much.
However, have you considered that maybe your agitation is the result of you not having thought enough? Or, from not having trained your mind to focus on what is important to you?
Our anxieties, worries, and stress are mostly the result of us thinking about stuff from the past (that we can’t change) and the future (that isn’t happening yet.)
The reality is that if we were at peace with our minds, most of us would no longer want to ‘make them blank.’ After all, when you are thinking happy thoughts and content with life, this is not the time you want to ‘go blank!’
A better use of your meditation time may be to gently coach your mind towards creating an internal state (mentally and emotionally) that you are happy to exist in. What do you think about that?
Meditation is a tool we use to try to make our journey easier… but I’m suggesting that instead of using it as a temporary escape from the dilemma of a busy mind….. that you use it to transform your mind into a tool that makes all the moments of your journey ‘more pleasant!’
“Touch your inner space, which is nothingness, as silent and empty as the sky; it is your inner sky. Once you settle down in your inner sky, you have come home, and a great maturity arises in your actions, in your behavior. Then whatever you do has grace in it. Then whatever you do is a poetry in itself. You live poetry; your walking becomes dancing, your silence becomes music. – Osho
Would I Recommend You To Practice Blank Mind Meditation?
Yes, I would, but as part of a practice that also encompassed other types of meditation. Because while the deep, deep, relaxation that I feel is awesome, I believe it is only a part of what we should be trying to achieve with our meditation practice.
I know most meditation teachers will tell you to practice a single form of meditation until you have mastered it….. And for most of us, there is wisdom in this.
However, we are multi-faceted beings, and we are capable of achieving so much…. Much more than we ever give ourselves credit for.
And after all, isn’t the goal of meditation and mindfulness practices to make them a bigger part of our ‘state of being’…. Our essence?
With this in mind, I have several distinct practices that I do most days, and then I try to incorporate aspects of each of them into as much of my daily life as possible. They include:
– Observation without judgment (Mindfulness)
– Breath awareness. As goes our breath, so goes our mind…. As one slows and relaxes, so does the other. Try allowing the body to breathe itself and see what happens… just allow it to happen without resistance or judgment.
– Body awareness (like in Vipassana meditation)
– Connection to nature through awareness of the energy that unites all things
– Focused thoughts for achieving goals
Through my years of experience, I have concluded that the best way to gauge whether your meditation practice is beneficial or not is HOW YOU FEEL after your practice…. And how has your practice over time benefited your life experience?
You see, meditation, while it is about sitting on the mat and putting in the time, it’s more about how it impacts your quality of life after you get up off the mat….
Are you able to have a more profound experience because of the practices you have been doing? If yes, keep doing them, and add to them, because more of a good thing is going to become great!
If your life is not improving and you have been sincerely practicing for a while. Then maybe it’s time to make a few changes to what you are doing…..
A good foundation to develop is a calm mind. And once you have achieved this, you can branch out in many directions, wherever your interests take you.
And if you wish to experience a blank mind, go for it…. because it will make you feel good…..
….. However, it’s not the best way to help you achieve your physical goals.
Still struggling with meditation? Check out my post: How do I learn to meditate: The 2 biggest secrets to help you learn meditation that actually work!