October 28, 2014

The Problem of Mental Static & How to Stop it.

be present

Do you listen to the radio?

We love listening to public radio. So when we were recently driving from Encinitas to Santa Monica, we naturally dialed in and listened to This American Life. At least until we tried to listen…

As we crossed from San Diego County into Orange County, the sound began to break up.

The station began to fade out. We were receiving more static than sound. Of course, you know what we did. We threw the radio out the window.

Not really…we turned the dial; tuning and re‐tuning our receiver to find a clear signal. This process of tuning and re‐tuning isn’t just for radios—it’s also for your life.

When we’re in a state of transition, it’s easy for static to drown out the clear signal of our inner wisdom.

A state of transition includes both outer changes and inner re‐tuning.

Whether you’re moving from one house to another, one kind of work to another or one relationship to another—there are actions to take externally and re‐tuning to do internally.

Why? Because making substantive changes in your life isn’t simply a matter of action. It’s also a matter of re‐tuning your mind and heart to a new level of consciousness.

If you don’t do the inner tuning, your mind and heart will be filled with static.

What’s the static that fills the mind and heart? Reactive emotions and negative thoughts.

Reactive emotions and negative thoughts are a natural part of the transition process. Just as static arises naturally as we drive from San Diego to Orange County.

  • When static comes through the radio it’s the technology letting you know it’s time to re‐tune.
  • When static-reactive emotions and negative thoughts— come through your awareness, it’s Life’s way of letting you know that it’s time to do some inner re­‐tuning.

Reactive emotions and negative thoughts are feedback.

Reactive emotions and negative thoughts—like radio static—let you know that your inner receiver needs to re‐tune and attune.
To what? To your inner wisdom channel.

The wisdom channel is always broadcasting.

To hear, feel, and follow the guidance of that channel ‐ you need to attune. And attuning starts with in‐turning, with meditation.
But in-turning and meditating can create problems.

How can in‐turning and meditating create problems?

When your attention is focused externally, you’re not as aware of the static. The static is there—but your attention is focused on external activity. So you don’t “hear” the static. But, as you turn attention inward, the static is impossible to miss.

As you begin to turn your attention from external activities towards the inner world, your experience of the static intensifies.

As you start to meditate, the static grows louder.
Or more accurately—your awareness of the static intensifies—and thus it grows louder, more insistent, more unpleasant…in your experience. You can get discouraged at this point.

Nobody loves static.

Reactive emotions and negative thoughts don’t feel good. And the untrained mind gets overwhelmed. So, rather than do the inner re­‐tuning that will bring you into contact with the wisdom channel, the tendency is throw yourself into a frenzy of outward directed activity…or to collapse on the floor.

Frenzied action or forlorn collapse–are both reactions to the static.

Neither do the necessary re‐tuning to keep you connected with your inner wisdom, making skillful choices, and moving forward.

So, what can you do—to face the static and re­‐tune your inner receiver?

1) Accept it.

Realize that static will naturally arise when you are in the midst of transition. It’s not a sign that you’re off course. It’s a sign that you’re moving to a new level of being‐ in‐the‐world and this new level requires some inner re‐tuning.

2) Don’t take the static personally.

It’s not about you. It’s not Life’s way of letting you know that you’re doomed, a failure, a mess. Nope. Life isn’t in the business of crushing your self‐worth (you have that job to yourself). Static is built into your mind/body system. It’s how Life reminds you to pay attention, turn within, re‐tune, and listen for the new signal that can guide you forward.

3) Practice mantra meditation.

Yep. Mantra meditation is the practice that the ancient yogis devised specifically for re‐tuning your inner receiver. The practice of mantra meditation develops your capacity to navigate inner transformations and transitions by staying attuned to your inner wisdom channel.

Mantra meditation trains you to make the subtle, on‐going inner adjustments that keep you connected to wisdom and compassion as you travel through your life.

Mantra meditation builds your capacity to face the static, accept it, not take it personally, and retune.

Much better than throwing your radio out the window.



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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: illustration by the author 

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