You’ve probably tried to quiet your mind and not succeeded, like I tried, and then I figured out this technique, and it works. Only two months after starting to practice, walking around New York City, plenty of distractions there, I realized my mind had been quiet for over an hour. I have to practice it once in a while when the chatter comes back, but it doesn’t take long. Yes, I can still think, verbalizing some concept in my head until I get an answer or two, but often there’s nothing happening ‘up there’ in my head, and I function quite well.

The “Uh-huh” technique

This is a method to quiet the mind. To silence the chatter.

First know that you are the listener, not the chatter.

Arguing with the voice doesn’t work, it argues back, the chatter continues.

Ignoring the chatter doesn’t work, the voice speaks louder; it says more outrageous things to get your attention.

Denying the voice also doesn’t work, it keeps on going.

Meditation to have a blank mind sort of works, but that takes years of practice meanwhile the voice continues to distract you, and anyway, it’s a circular concept, to quieten the mind, start with a quiet mind. No thanks.

Instead, consider a conversation, you, with a boring person. You, being polite, do not want to be rude, but you also don’t want to encourage this person. What to say? Reply “uh-huh” to whatever the person says. You’ve acknowledged their comment (weakly) without offering any further encouragement or direction for further conversation. Reply again “uh-huh” to each thing said. Eventually the person will walk off. In real life this could take a while, as people have all sorts of issues and needs, but within your mind, it doesn’t take long.

As you reply quietly “uh-huh” in your mind, the voice will change subject, “uh-huh” change subject again, “uh-huh” and each time the gap between subjects will increase. At this point the voice is getting concerned, so it starts on the subjects “guaranteed” to produce a response – your hot buttons. Continue to reply “uh-huh”. Now the gaps between each topic get long enough to notice. Continue to reply “uh-huh” and enjoy the silence. With practice, the silence can last hours or longer.

During these silences, notice that you don’t need your chatter.

Notice that you notice things more, better, without the distraction of a voice describing, criticizing, commenting, narrating, chatting.

Notice how peaceful it is.

When the voice comes back, repeat as needed.

Paul Rice

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