I realized that I have a belief system that is actively working against me quieting my mind.
I used to be big on using down time to do something. On the way to school and then work I would study or read. If I had to wait for someone, I would read. While I was talking on the phone, I would be tidying up whatever was in reach. These sound harmless and maybe even efficient, but this pattern extended past physical activity.
Anytime I was doing a task that didn’t require much mental focus, I would start thinking about something else, trying to get something else done. I felt like I was getting things accomplished, but it has the side effect of pulling you away from what’s going on around you. When I had to walk to the other side of campus for my next class, my mind was somewhere else. Waiting in line at the bank, my mind was somewhere else. I have been training myself for years to not be present because of my desire to be efficient and not waste time.
And this pattern I engrained in myself flies in the face of what I’m trying to do with meditation. Every time I would begin to quiet my mind, that haughty pattern would recognize low mental activity and rush to fill in the gap with something. Anything.
Isn’t it interesting how we can say we want to do something but at the same time not want to do it? These layers of beliefs are fascinating.