Settling the Mind Down

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

As stated earlier, the first step in meditation is to stop interfering with the mind so that all turmoil may settle down into a quiet state. It is like stop stirring the water to let the mud settle down. This is an interesting step to carry out because it is amazingly difficult to not do anything that interferes with the mind.

When you sit down to meditate you become acutely aware of the turmoil going on in the mind. Some may not acknowledge it but confusion about something is always there. There is nothing to distract you from it unless you flat out deny it. In meditation, you are not supposed to avoid, resist, deny or suppress. You have to face that confusion head on. How do you face it?



To handle any confusion you first need a stable datum. That stable datum used in meditation is breathing.

You start by observing your breathing while also being aware of all the commotion going on in the mind. Breathing should be used as a stabilizing factor rather than a distraction. If attention gets lost during meditation, then you simply bring it back to your breathing and continue to observe the mind without interfering. The idea is to BE there and not do anything else but BE there. Breathing should stay natural during this process.

Breathing acts as a stabilizing point as you face the commotion in the mind.



As you stay aware of the confusion in the mind from the stable point of breathing, the commotion starts to settle down. But this settling down process is full of reactions, such as, tiredness, boredom, drowsiness, etc. How do you handle these reactions?

For example, suppose you start to feel drowsy. If you fight it then you’ll be interfering with the mind and stirring it up. All you can do is let that condition pass and run itself out. The body may fall asleep, but it would eventually wake up. You simply experience the whole cycle of falling asleep and waking up. Once this reaction is out of system, you will feel more alert than when you started the meditation.

To fully perceive drowsiness, you must experience it without resisting.

Some may feel that if you fall asleep you are not meditating. Well, at the first step of meditation you are settling the mind down. The real meditation starts on the second step (see Introduction to Meditation).

Part of settling the mind is running out all reactions. You do this by fully perceiving and experiencing the reactions without avoiding, resisting, denying or suppressing them.

Fully perceive and experience all reactions in meditation without interfering with them.

This is mindfulness in meditation. It applies to all reactions and not just to sleep.


Mental Chatter

When your mind is chattering away, it is trying to put some information together. It cannot, however, do so because it is missing a part of that information. This information is, most likely, suppressed being painful, and the mind is not stable enough to face it.

But, as the mind runs out the various reactions, as described in the previous section, it settles down and becomes more stable. It feels strong enough to let the painful information emerge out in the open.  This is the past suppression unwinding at last. This is nearing the end of the first stage of meditation.

As the mind unwinds and lets the past suppressed painful information through, the mental chatter also subsides.



Meditation is the subject of confronting the painful contents of one’s mind and facing all confusions. Many good pointers on this subject may be found in the writings of Hubbard.

Hubbard based his philosophy of Scientology on Buddhism. He says 1.

Amazing reactions occur when conscious effort is made to do this. Dullness, perception trouble, fogginess, sleep and even pains, emotions and convulsions can occur when one knowingly sets out to BE THERE AND COMFORTABLY PERCEIVE with the various parts of a subject.

These reactions discharge and vanish as one perseveres (continues) and at last, sometimes soon, sometimes after a long while, one can be there and perceive the component.

A reaction, when confronted patiently, discharges and vanishes.

Hubbard goes on to warn in the same bulletin 1:

People have mental tricks they use to get around actual confronting—to be disinterested, to realize it’s not important, to be sort of half dead, etc.—but these discharge (run out) as well eventually and at last they can just be there and comfortably perceive.

We see this in people, who are running away from life, instead of living it. The same mindset shows up in meditation.

The solution is to practice mindfulness both in meditation and in life.

It is just letting the mud settle down. You may practice mindfulness even between the meditation sessions.


1HCO Bulletin of 2 June 1971, Issue I, CONFRONTING


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