How to Have a Calm Mind in Meditation

“You need to listen while you are meditating,

but it is a listening beyond the senses of the body.

It is a listening to the sound of silence.

Your mind will not hear it; your ears will not hear it.

It is a listening that is beyond these limitations.

It is a state of reception.

Carry this state of reception into your meditations;

and as this listening takes over, the usual difficulties will subside.

Many think that there is no reception while the mind is still functioning.

This is not true.

Your mind and its unlimited illusions may still go on,

but this does not stop your reception.

It is an endeavor in a separate area.”



One of the most challenging things in meditation is our mind, and to have a calm mind.

In my 17 years of facilitating meditations I have come to realize that people have many concepts about having thoughts in meditation. It is almost like we think we have failed in meditation when our mind was just running around like a chatter monkey and we had a difficult time calming it down.

The truth about thoughts in meditation

We are learning something really important here about thoughts and the mind during meditation.

  • It does not really matter whether there are thoughts or not. Our focus in meditation and the state of receptivity are endeavors in a different area.

Now it will help greatly to start off our meditation with a relative calm mind so we can find this state of reception right at the beginning of our meditation. But before we go there, let's look a little further into this state of reception.

A state of reception

calm mind

We all know this place inside of us. It feels so good to be in this place when we are, because we know we are so very close to the truth, to answers, to information and to the Source. It is a state of reception. The mind feels open and relatively quiet.

Now the challenge is, how do we get to this state of reception? A calm mind will help us in finding and recognizing this place inside.

A pre-meditation exercise to achieve a calm mind

It is very beneficial when starting your meditation, for your mind to be as calm and empty as you can have it be. The following technique has helped me to no end with emptying my mind and preparing myself for meditation with a calm mind. I am using this exercise on a regular basis. It is my best friend in helping to manage my mind.

A Pre-Meditation Exercise

This is an exercise you can apply before the start of your meditation or at the beginning of your meditation. This exercise assists you to empty your mind and clear yourself from surface feelings so you become clear, calm and open; a great consciousness to start your journey of going within. You can also use this tool whenever you need to empty your mind to calm yourself. It is a great thing to do just before going to sleep.

Here is how you do it:

  • Have paper, pencil, and a hand towel ready.
  • Write down anything going on in your mind that’s occurring more than just a passing thought.
  • You can scream into the hand towel or twist it tightly to move tension out of your body.
  • Take notice of all that is going on in your mind. Try not to think about any of it, but if there are things going on in your mind that are distracting you too much, then write down in a few words what it is. It can be anything from trying to remember where you put your keys to a major confusion about something.
  • Don’t try to empty everything out; just remove the top layer of disturbances – to clear a path within so you can focus within. If there are any surface emotions connected to the thoughts, then get them out of your body and into the air or into the towel.
  • Then, look over your list and circle the one thing you’d say was the most important to you on that list right now. Take no more than 30 seconds to do that. This is something you can think about calmly if you want to later.

If, after you’re feeling like you want to be done with this pre-meditation purge part, yet you still have something going on that you didn’t feel like you could noticeably release, then you can begin your meditation by moving more of the feelings about whatever it is. (Moving your feelings means screaming, crying, dancing, etc. with the intention of letting go of the feeling.)

When thoughts during meditation still persist

If we find ourselves very busy in the mind during meditation—meaning the thinking part of our mind is running wild (opposite of a calm mind) there is something very simple that we can do.

Focus on something more then the train of thoughts in your mind.

For instance you could focus on:

  • Your breath. This may be the feeling of the breath moving in and out of your lower belly.
  • Something in front of you, like a dot on the wall.
  • The very reason why we sit down and meditate in the first place.

I personally do number 3, every time I meditate. Focusing myself on the desire in my heart to why I want to meditate, helps me to get in touch with a very deep longing. A longing for Home, a hunger for truth, a passion to be free, a desire to be with God. This focus takes over and all the challenges created by the mind subside and sometimes even completely disappear.

The key is to focus more on our point of focus than the thoughts which are distracting us in our mind. I wrote up 2 more exercises that can help us in finding our focus for the meditation.

Calm mind at the end of a meditation

It is important not to judge our practice in any way—i.e., “that was a good session” or “that was a bad session.” Any meditation session you do is a “good” meditation session.

You engaged with yourself and learned more about your current state of being, which leads to further movement. It is important to treat yourself with unconditional acceptance of your experience. This sets the stage for a calm mind.

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