Mental quiet is not silent

Photo by Grant Ritchie

It’s often perceived that meditation is supposed to help us ‘quiet the mind’, right? I mean, that’s often the draw.

I have a noisy mind. So I’m gonna meditate.

And we do.
And it feels cool. 
And sometimes it gets quieter.

But there’s always something going on up there.


It can be frustrating banging our head against a wall trying to get our thinking to quiet down because those voices and images and imagined dragons (no, not the band) just keep… Coming.

But I want to offer you a different way of looking at it. Maybe you’ll be able to let go of this possibly impossible goal of entirely quieting the mind.

What if mental quiet wasn’t supposed to be silent?

Here’s what I gather…

The quiet is the space within which we hear the noise.

Try seeing ‘quiet’ as not being the absence of noise, but as the backdrop to the noise. Rest in that open space that’s aware of the noise. That watches it with a soft, loving gaze knowing that it’s just… noise. It’s just thought. Nothing more. Nothing less.


As I enter my meditative state, I surrender the urge to find complete silence of mind. I know that, by doing this, all I do is add noise to the noise. I see now that quiet is the open, loving backdrop to the noise. When I rest in this space, noise comes and goes. I’m serenely settled amidst the most agitating of noises because without me, this noise wouldn’t exist. The noise is just a shimmer on the surface of the water of the mind. Nothing to be afraid of.

I am the quiet behind it all. 
I am. 
And so it is.