Martin and Sarah are some of the finest brains I've met in my life.
The two together started a company from scratch and managed to grow it into a fully burgeoning business in little time. Between the two of them, they offer a well rounded combination of logistics, problem solving, and clever management techniques.
I met both Martin and Sarah when I worked in Zighy Bay. Located in Oman, it is possibly the most beautiful resort in the Middle East.
Sarah came for a few sessions with me ostensibly for back pain and general stress relief. Over the course of our sessions, I learned that she had been suffering from marital stress. She hoped that out time together would reveal a stronger mental clarity, which the circumstances of her present situation had muddied a bit. After her session, she felt invigorated and mentally organized - and thus, immediately recommended my practice to Martin.
Martin marched in, not because he suffered from any obvious physical issue, but because he was curious to investigate why his brain seemed never to turn off.
Of course, to many, this would not initially seem like a problem. In fact, it is this very ability that has allowed him to become so successful.
However, because his brain is always churning - tinkering with one material problem or another. He is never able to relax, acknowledge, and thus manage his emotional concerns. Facts of the heart speak in a different language than those of the brain. These facts are not logic in the way the brain understands them, thus they cannot be explained or expressed through logic. Martin agreed he understood the benefit in not using his brain to “solve” disturbances of the heart, but the actualizing of this proved presently impossible.
Every person has tactics to relax. Some love to practice yoga, others go for a swim, while some walk in the forest.
However, what do we do when our mind is swirling and we are unable to do our physical practices that calm our hearts and minds? What if our brain begins to spin at such a pace and we still have to stay in the office for 6 hours? We cannot leave and go for a relaxing swim or walk in the woods. If we do nothing about this and try to “push through,” it will be easy to predict that today will be a terrible one.
Is there even a way to make our minds quiet and appeased without leaving our current physical space? Is there a technique we can apply anywhere at any time?
Yes! There is! There are actually many ways.
I will share the one I taught Martin. I appreciate it because it is fast, playful and doesn't come with any mysticism sidenotes.
I asked Martin to close his eyes for a minute. As soon as the eye lids seal shut, I asked him to observe his thoughts. I asked him to observe their pathways as they zip through his head. I ask him to notice one cross over another, like cars on a complex highway.
As soon as he became aware of this process of his brain, I asked him to transform every single thought, one at a time, into a balloon. YES, that’s correct. I said balloon! The very balloons that children get at the theme park - the kind that once you let them go from your hand, they float up up and away into the sky.
I asked him to convert every thought into a balloon and watch it rise high into the sky. I asked him if he knew what happened to balloons when they get too high. Martin said, “yes. the rise and rise and at a certain point, a tipping point, they pop.” I nodded in agreement.
I held space for him so that the practice could become consistent for him, something he could repeat on his own. Turning thoughts and beliefs into balloons and watching these beliefs rise and rise and pop. The benefit of watching a thought destroyed in front of you is a powerful one. The internal effects of the explosion is registered, normally, by the subscious as something irreversible - for a moment it exists, the next moment is irreversibly un-existent. This is a very literal and liberating technique.
An important note for this practice is that the thoughts must be turned into balloons and sent away as quickly as possible.
Once the thoughts are cast as balloon into the sky of the mind, they become resident in our short memory, as if these thoughts are encased inside the envelope of the balloon.
A person can wait as long as he needs to discard these balloons, but the point here is to make this practice as fast as possible. To do this, we need to train.
In order to do this, I verbally guide the full process of the first and second balloon. Once we arrive at the third, I ask the client to do it. If I see they have absorbed and appropriated the process, I say, “for every thought coming to you from now on, cast it as a balloon. Let it go to and wait for it to pop. And then repeat for the next thought.”
In this situation the mind requires very little energy to transform a thought from a conceptual place into one that holds clear mental space. And, it requires even less energy to turn it into a balloon and let it go and explode.
It was easy for me to see through his eyelids that the process had commenced because his eyeballs began to dart around. You see, every thought is visualized in a different place. When we search in our minds for thoughts, we actually moves our eyeballs as if we were searching in our visual, physical space.
I asked him to continue the process for a another 60 seconds. I would pipe in only to communicate the end of the practice.
During this time, I noticed that the activity of the eyeballs, which once had been moving around intensely, by the end, had slowly diminished. For the rest of our time together, every muscle of his face became peaceful and relaxed.
When I ended the session, I asked him, “how do you feel?”
He answered, somewhat stunned, “it's just silence.... I can't believe it.”
“How does that feel, that silence,” I prodded.
Martin responded with such joy, “it feels so good! so good!”
That is all. This is your technique to slow your mind, to create space, to find peace. This can be done without racing to some location on the globe. It is possible to find this calm from just where you are sitting, or standing. Peace created by a location is only illusion. And, as is externally constructed, it will not last. True quieting of the mind can only be done from within - and within can be accessed anywhere.
Every time you feel your mind is spinning wildly and you feel stressed, rushed, nervous, or simply you notice your mental capacity is diminished, try closing your eyes and watching the pathways of each individual thought. Then transform these thoughts into balloons. Watch as they float higher and higher into the sky. Watch as they fly so high they pop and disappear. Take a moment to notice the space of your mind without the balloons, without the thoughts. Take as many deep breaths as you need until you are ready to open your eyes again.
True silence in our minds allows our senses to relax. Relaxation is the quickest avenue to mental efficiency as it makes it easier to see. With clear and relaxed vision (remember how much Martin’s eyes were darting at the beginning and how they eventually stilled), it is so much easier to find solutions to problems, to discover new ideas, or even simply to just enjoy a nice moment of being alive.