Meditation is one of the best tools that I have to battle my mental illness. It not only calms me, but it also helps clear out the dross from my thoughts.
I’m not talking about sitting on the floor with legs crossed. My mind often won’t allow that type of serious meditiative practice. It’s just too busy.
I find active meditation to be extremely helpful. I learned years ago that I can meditate while I’m doing just about anything, and by far the best exercise of this type of meditation is washing the dishes.
When my mind is racing and it simply will not calm down, I head to the kitchen to clean a pile of dishes. I start out with all the dishes on one side. I lift the dish soap, and I say out loud, “I’m picking up the soap. I’m squeezing the soap into the sink.”
Then I turn on the water, and I say out loud, “I’m turning on the water and filling the sink. I’m watching the bubbles form in the water.”
Next, I do and say, “I’m picking up the silverware and dumping it in the sink. I’m reaching into the warm water and picking up the spoon. I’m scrubbing the spoon. I’m setting the spoon aside.” And I put the spoon in the second sink waiting to be rinsed. Then I finish all the silverware, setting everything aside ready to be rinsed. I talk out loud about each and every piece that I wash.
I think you can guess what I am going on about. The gist of the process is that I talk out loud to myself about the exact movement that my hands and arms are doing.
“I’m picking up the cup. I’m putting the cup in the water. I’m scrubbing the cup. I’m setting the cup aside.”
“I’m picking up the dish. I’m putting the dish in the warm water. I’m scrubbing the dish. I’m setting the dish aside.”
I do this with each and every single thing that has to be washed, and then I do the same process as I rinse all the stuff that I’ve washed.
“I’m rinsing the knife. I’m putting the knife in the drainer. I’m rinsing the glass. I putting the glass in the drainer. I’m rinsing the bowl. I’m putting the bowl in the drainer.” Etc.
I can promise that by the time I’ve finished with even a small pile of dishes, my mind is calmer. I have even been in situations where my mind was muddied and full of gunk, and I could think of no way to clear it better than washing dishes when I had no dirty dishes. What did I do? I pulled clean dishes out of the cabinets and washed them.
Crazy? I don’t care, because when I finished the process, my mind was clear. It helps me, and getting help is what it’s all about.