If your goal is to achieve a quiet mind, you should first find out what causes a noisy mind. According to the stoics, a noisy mind is caused by desire and aversion in regards to things beyond our control. Epictetus advised to unconditionally accept anything beyond our control and to see good in every situation regardless of how life has been or will turn out with no need to ruminate and worry. We should fully embrace what comes at us, experience and learn from it.
“Remember you should behave in life as at a dinner party, if anything is brought out to you, put out your hand and take your share with moderation. If it passes, don’t stop it. If it doesn’t come, don’t stretch your desire towards it, but wait till it reaches you.” Grayling A
This is a useful reminder to embrace whatever happens. To achieve peace, we should not let our minds stray outside the present moment too often but we do this all the time. Stressing about things that happened a long time ago and worrying about possible future failures.
“Wild animals run from dangers they see, and once they have escaped, they worry no more. We however worry about the past and future.”Seneca
Allan watts said a quiet mind requires no strain. The act of thinking puts a strain on the mind because it takes effort for our minds to keep up with reality. Watts observers that we tend to live in a world that’s unsatisfying and lacks vitality.
“The unhappy man is always absent from himself, never present to himself. But one can be happy, obviously, either in the past or in the future. This circumscribed the entire territory of the unhappy consciousness.” Kierkegaard
The noisy mind is never present. “Most humans are never present in the now because unconsciously, they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then, you’ll miss your whole life which is never not now” Eckert Tollet
Sometimes it’s necessary to step out of the present now so that you plan for the future or learn from past mistakes. However, when planning becomes worrying, and worry becomes anxiety, and learning from mistakes turns to repetitive reflections leading to emotions of guilt and shame, you should know that the mind is lingering in the wrong places.
We achieve a quiet mind by thinking less. Or structuring our thoughts by observing what you are thinking and if the thoughts are really necessary. The Buddhist called a noisy mind, a monkey mind. Because like our thoughts, the monkey jumps from tree to tree. The practice of meditation is a way of training the monkey mind by observing our thoughts to let them dissolve like clouds in the sky. Achieving a quite mind takes practice but only with a clear mind can you live in the present moment and fully enjoy the gifts of life.
“For the one who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends. But for the one who has failed to do so, his very mind wil be his greatest enemy”Bhagavad Gita