Are you burnt out?
When you’re burnt out, you fall back on your most basic habits, stuff you might have thought was long gone from your repertoire. This is because you are experiencing the physical equivalent of running on emergency power, and riding your habits uses the least amount of energy to get you to a time in the day where you can be alone and be left alone.
Everyone needs to have a place where they can lock the door and feel safe and know that no one is going to bother them. It is possible to have this even if you have children, if they are old enough to be able to be left alone or with a partner or super trusted friend (I hear too many horror stories about “trusted friends”) and they understand you’re not mad at them. If you live with another person or persons, then they have to understand that everyone, including them, needs alone time. It’s part of the antidote for burnout, though it’s only a start.
Being alone puts you in the proper position to meditate, to empty your mind of everything and anything, even if you only do it for seconds at a time at first. You’re going to have thoughts intrude, everyone does. The trick is to let them go on, floating away like clouds, when you become aware of them. This is not a bad thing, it is the inevitable way meditation happens, so don’t jerk yourself out of this mini mental vacation because you’re not meditating “right”—you are!
Eventually, you will realize how both sides of the process are really natural—the momentary nothingness vacation from y/our “monkey mind” will become longer and longer. And noticing when you are allowing thoughts to intrude, and then letting them float away will become easier and easier, but don’t expect to ever go into perfect meditation mode. Expectations and meditation can’t really exist together.
Monte’s books and tools are available at his Enchanted World Emporium in East Hampton (8 Main Street, 631-324-7695).