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Meditation for the Western Mind

When the Noise Will Not Stop

For many years, I faithfully practiced meditation.  Twice each day, I’d sit for twenty minutes and quiet my mind.  I seemed to adapt easily to the practice, and I enjoyed the peacefulness.  As a busy executive with three small children, I truly believed that silencing my mind was my secret to success.  But when I suggested to others that they might want to try meditation, they frequently commented that the noise would not stop.  If they sat still for even a moment, their mind went out of control.  They ended up fretting over their inability to calm their mind, which made things worse.

After about twelve years of daily meditation, I woke up one day and could not imagine myself meditating.  I wondered if the cooties of my non-meditating friends had rubbed off on me.  I took it as a sign that something new was coming my way.  I didn’t force myself to meditate.  The thought of doing so felt horrible.

Do You Want a Silent mind or a Creative Mind?

After a while, I realized that a silent mind was not my ultimate goal.  I loved thinking, imaging, and creating.  What I wanted was a loving, compassionate, and nonjudgmental mind.  I wanted a mind that supported my desires and dreams and didn’t feed me criticism or problems about myself or others.  I wanted a mind that could discriminate between true and false, a mind that did not accept thoughts that were wrong for me just because another saw them as true.  I remember thinking to myself that I wanted my mind to be so loving that if someone could cut it open and read it like a book, they would see nothing but love for them inside.  That was my intention; but I had no clue how to fulfill that desire.

My mind was no longer quiet.  In fact, it seemed that all those years of meditation were a complete waste because my noisy thoughts came back once I stopped meditating.  My mind obsessed about stupid things.  It judged others and myself.  And it seemed to believe everything that everyone said.  I tried going to healers and therapists but they viewed what I described as a normal mind. That’s when I realized that eastern meditation is done for life…every day. So it doesn’t heal our mind; it soothes it. By that time in my life, I wanted something different than eastern meditation could offer; I wanted a free mind. I wanted a creative mind. I wanted a loving mind.

After some time, my noisy mind began affecting my health.  But, I didn’t want to go to a doctor, nor did I want to go to any more healers or therapists.  I felt very strongly that I needed to fix this problem myself.  But how?

I asked myself, what do I have control over?  The answer that I heard was, “My mind.”  I started to laugh.  It really felt that my mind was thinking me rather than the other way around. Oddly, I had been very good at letting go before I meditated. Now I felt like everything I thought was stuck in my mind. That’s because eastern meditation teachers don’t actually have quiet minds. They float above their noisy mind; and they project the idea of a noisy mind on to others who don’t meditate. So when we go to a mediation teacher or someone who does guided meditations, they are generally projecting the label of noisy mind on us. I talk about the issue of projection, which is very common among eastern teachers, in my other website, No Labels No Lies. Eastern meditation doesn’t make our mind quieter; we simply focus on something other than our thoughts like our breathing or a mantra. There is no letting go in eastern meditation.

So now, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to remember how to let go of my thoughts. I didn’t want all of these thoughts in my mind. We can’t be creative when our mind is noisy. We can’t be loving when our mind is noisy. We aren’t free when our mind is noisy. So I sat down, focused on the uncomfortable sensations in my body, and I just let my mind speak.  I decided that I would watch my mind for five minutes and see what was in there.  I made no attempt to quiet my mind or to change it.  I just allowed the thoughts to arise naturally.  I watched my mind like I was watching a movie.  On the one hand, I was horrified at the thoughts that arose because I didn’t need any of them in my mind.  On the other hand, I knew that I was witnessing the thoughts that caused my problems, illnesses, and emotions.  The thoughts were all right there within my own mind.

Discrimination is the Key

It occurred to me that perhaps the part of me that could observe my thoughts had the ability to discriminate between true and false.  At the time, my goal was to heal my mind so that my body could heal  So, I decided that I would assess each thought that arose.  If my thought contributed to my goal of a healthy, vital mind and body, I’d let the thought alone.  If my mind offered a thought that was contrary to my desire, I’d label it false.  I didn’t do anything except choose between true and false—no special breathing, mantras, or tapping on energy meridians.  At this point, I didn’t even try to let the thought go because I wasn’t sure how to do so. If emotions arose, I observed them too.  Three hours later, I was still watching my mind.  I was having fun, and I felt so much better.  I finally understood the Greek maxim to “Know Thyself.”  This was my mind; and yet, I realized that I took better care of my car. I remembered that my mind used to be clear, quiet, and free without meditating. But more important, I realized that viewing my mind through the lens of true and false was powerful. My mind seemed to inherently understand that if something was false, I didn’t need to hold on to it. Why had I never heard that simple truth before?

I continued this practice the next day with a variety of different intentions.  Some topics were easier than others.  I didn’t judge myself.  I did the best that I could.  After a few days, the thoughts that arose in my mind seemed more potent; many were accompanied by strong emotion. I realized that I was now accessing beliefs.  Beliefs are thoughts that we hold as truisms about life.  We think these thoughts over and over.  Because we don’t challenge the beliefs, we see proof of them when we look into the world.  Beliefs are not true, although they may be our reality.  In fact, the word belief has the world “lie” embedded within it, hinting at its purpose. Today, I know that when we manifest from beliefs, we are manifesting an illusion. We are manifesting a desire or a problem that was not meant to be part of our life. So we don’t feel happy or satisfied. So often people will say that they just don’t feel right about something; they don’t feel like themselves. They are manifesting from beliefs, not creating from their True Self.

Our acceptance of beliefs as real and true gives them power; and that power causes them to continue to manifest in our life.  On the other hand, when we recognize beliefs as false, they lose their power to manifest. Today, I realize that all beliefs are false. There is no belief system that will take us to God or the truth. Every belief system is nothing but a complex of lies. When we let go, we get back to our True Self…our inner creativity, unconditional love, and wisdom. That being said, most people think I’m crazy until they try what I’m saying. Letting go isn’t quick. It takes time and persistence. But that is how you get to a truly quiet mind. I was able to get to a mind that is very quiet; and I never meditate anymore. If I notice noise in my mind after talking with someone or interacting in the world, I do a little western meditation; then my quiet mind is back again.

The Role of Emotions

I could now see that the thoughts that I labeled false had emotion attached to them.  Thoughts that were absolutely true were emotion free.  It was the strong emotion that made these false thoughts feel real and permanent.  I felt that I could not let them go.  So I decided to see what would happen if I just witnessed the thought and its accompanying emotion until it was gone. That’s when I discovered that beliefs that we hold in mind as true are psychologically reversed. Our mind was designed to be self-referential. If we thought a false thought, we’d naturally feel emotion. So we wouldn’t think it anymore; we’d let it go. But we were trained by illusion dwellers to hold on to beliefs that were false; and that caused our mind to psychologically reverse like their mind. We should never treat a belief as the truth. As we let go, our psychological reversal disappears. Our mind goes back to working as it was designed. Then we have a quiet, creative, wise mind.

As I silently observed the emotion without labeling it or trying to understand it, I decided that I would remind myself that the thought was not true because it didn’t contribute to my desire for a free mind.  Quite honestly, I didn’t know if I could make these beliefs disappear; they felt so strong and powerful.  But it was worth a try.

The first few beliefs took about thirty minutes each to dissolve and they required a great deal of courage to sit with my emotions.  But eventually the emotion and the belief were gone.  When I thought that belief, it almost sounded silly. I knew that it was not true. I wasn’t just labeling it false; I knew that the thought had no purpose. I knew that it was false for me and everyone else; so doing this also eliminated projection. Often I’d have a major insight in the moment when the belief finally dissolved.  The reward of clarity and insight kept me motivated to repeat the process again and again.  Once I knew what I was doing, it went faster.  Eventually, I realized that I could support the emotional clearing by thinking words such as “This belief is not true because it doesn’t feel good.”  My mind had now agreed to let go when I said those words.

Big Desires, Big Beliefs

As I kept with the process, I realized that bigger desires pull up bigger beliefs.  I found that I had personal beliefs, beliefs about others, beliefs about groups, and beliefs about people in general.  I was shocked at how many beliefs I had stashed away.  I had beliefs about the earth and the universe.  I had endless beliefs about food.  I found that all diseases were merely beliefs, and I believed in lots of them.  I had beliefs that I picked up from studying different religions, studying psychology, and belonging to spiritual groups.  I had beliefs about beliefs.  But each time I let a belief go, I felt relief from the emotion and a moment of clarity. It seemed like a very small thing to let go of one belief, but it was not. When you put your desire on freeing your mind, you stop adding to your mind. That also has a huge benefit. It’s weird that people want to add to their mind all the time; that’s like clogging up the bandwidth of your internet connection. It slows everything down. When we subtract from our mind, our bandwidth speeds up.

I’ve shared this technique with hundreds of people.  Everyone can do it.  Children love it, and do it easily.  It would be simple if we had not been programmed early in childhood with so many beliefs.  It would help if we weren’t all psychologically reversed. But we have to start where we are. It does no good whining about what others did to our minds. Most of the people who gave us beliefs were just doing what was done to them. Our long-standing beliefs that have been creating our reality (and have lots of emotion attached) take courage and directed will to dissolve.  This process takes time and persistence. It’s not something you can do in a weekend. It simply becomes a way of life. Ancient cultures called it facing the dragon. It was part of initiation.

Unlike techniques that fix the effect of our thinking such as medicine, therapies, and positive thinking, discriminating and letting go truly cleans out our mental closet.  Eventually, our mind is quiet except for the thoughts that we choose to think.  Our mind become like a tree standing alone in a big field. Its branches and roots are spread out because it is not competing for water and the sun like a tree in the forest. When we have a thought it is creative; or more often, we are just inspired and do things without any thinking at all. That’s what many call being in the FLOW.

Over time, our perspective on life changes and so does our reality.  We start to notice that we don’t think like the herd anymore; nor do you want to think like the herd. As we continue letting go, we come to enjoy our mind much like we did as children.  Our creativity returns.  Our imagination plays with us again.  Many of our problems go away; we aren’t manifesting things we don’t want anymore. Instead of constantly adding to our mind, we just keep subtracting. We come to realize that we actually needed zero beliefs, zero rules, and very little knowledge to have a wonderful life.

Try Western Meditation for Yourself!

Set aside five minutes and get comfortable. You don’t need a special posture for western meditation. You can do it anytime. You don’t even have to close your eyes. Set an intention or desire for this session, i.e., choose a topic. Relax as best you can, and let your mind offer its thoughts. Don’t think. Don’t comment on your thoughts. Don’t contemplate them or look for reasons why you had those thoughts. In other words, don’t put any thoughts into your mind. Don’t try to control your thinking. If a thought arises that contributes to your desire, allow yourself to keep it. Watch for the next thought to arise. If the thought doesn’t serve your desire, recognize that it is false, a belief (lie), and you don’t need it in your mind. If emotions arise, just witness them. Try to give yourself some space from the emotions. Don’t wallow in them. Remind yourself that they are arising because you thought something false that you no longer want or need in your mind. Avoid labeling or suppressing your emotions. If you are having fun or making progress at the end of five minutes, keep going.

When you feel more accomplished at western meditation related to your own desires, you can move on to the win-win challenge. This is where you move into initiation. Again, watch your mind as thoughts or beliefs arise on your chosen topic, but now you must let go of any thought that wouldn’t serve another person either. You let go of any judgments of others. You let go of resentment, anger, and blame. Often this practice can have a huge impact on your health and your life. When I did this win-win practice with a focus on my technology business and my employees, my income doubled in one year. I stopped having to advertise, and my employees all became like geniuses. I was able to work shorter days and spend more time with my children. But I never did meditation for physical results; I did it to clear my mind. My desire was always something like win win, freedom, or unconditional love. It just so happened that I got wonderful physical results from doing that as a bonus.

This article is just a small taste of what I discovered regarding western meditation. The process is easy, but it’s like riding a bike. You kind of have to do it until you catch on. Also, I didn’t have a strong belief system when I did this. I wasn’t raised with religion, and I never took spirituality very serious. I usually saw through those con artist teachers and gurus after a while. I also wasn’t much for the medical system. So this is harder if you have strong beliefs or a strong belief system. As you let go, you are breaking your old mental habit of holding on to thoughts, beliefs, rules, knowledge, etc. You also tend to move from personal thoughts to thoughts about others, and personal beliefs to collective beliefs; then you come to recognize habits of thinking (programming) that is false, and much more. Everyone’s experience is different. If you need more help understanding letting go, I suggest that you go to my other website, No Labels No Lies, where I share much more about the process and techniques that I’ve used to let go. Or I have a membership program called the Gold Circle. It’s more like a deprogram than a program. It’s based on the idea of unschooling. Initiation in the ancient world wasn’t something that people did for a week or a year; they did it until they loved their mind again. Often that took years or decades. But you get so that you can do it all the time in the course of normal life. It becomes a very effective and productive way of using your mind because it is how our mind was designed to be used. Remember that people do eastern meditation for life. It doesn’t heal our mental condition. However, no one will do western meditation for life. At some point, your mind will be free and quiet. Then you won’t need western meditation anymore. You can forget everything I told you, and create your perfect life.


Cathy Eck is a true pioneer always pushing the boundaries of thought and beliefs. Cathy is courageous about exposing the status quo. While her ideas might not be popular, they are effective, practical, and true. They create unity where division once existed. They create love where hate had reigned. They create joy where pain and sorrow were once normal. They are ideas worth considering and hopefully embracing.

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