Bob Newhart - meditationIt may sound crazy, but we are going to let Bob Newhart help us to clear our mind in meditation.

I am sharing a clip from his TV-show “Newhart” that, strangely enough, will help us get rid of all the drama, chatter, and unnecessary information that is constantly taking us out of the present moment, exhausting us, and keeping us from the peace that is right inside all of the time.

It is a meditation called “Neti-Neti“. Neti-neti is a sanskrit phrase that means “not this, not that”. To use it in meditation is to sit quietly breathing and whenever a thought comes into our minds, say to ourselves neti-neti or “not this, not that”.

This is very different than how meditation is normally taught. Normally, we are taught to allow all thoughts to come and go freely. The key is to simply not focus on them. To “let them flow through our minds, untouched and not noticed like clouds in the sky.”

But in this meditation, as soon as a thought enters, you meet it and the door and quietly say, “No”.

Which Thoughts Stay and Which Go?

MeditationWhile meditating, if you suddenly have a revelation about something in your life or a memory resurfacing for the first time, then these are important to keep and to look into. If this happens, then stop, write them down on a piece of paper and continue your meditation practice.

We use neti-neti for ALL OF THE OTHER THOUGHTS that are constantly playing out in our minds – the conversations with other people who aren’t there (either in the past or the future), replaying old dramas, thinking about what other people said, or think, or do – these are the things that we are simply going to say “No” to.

Why? Because they are not helpful. They are endless loops that go nowhere.

And once we engage with any of these fears and dramas that are playing out in our minds, we simply go down the same rabbit hole that we always end up in. It does absolutely no good. We solve nothing. And we accomplish nothing except raising our blood pressure, upsetting ourselves and believing that we will never be able to meditate.

The Greater Truth

Neti-neti comes out of the jnana yoga tradition and teaches us a much deeper reality than just negating our thoughts.

The goal of meditation is to connect with God, Atman, or whatever you call the divine. It is to understand that we are so much more than our experiences here in the physical world so that we can truly find peace.

It is having the constant awareness that we are so much more than this physical experience – that we are truly infinite and connected to everything. THIS is the  context to see everything that happens in our lives if we are to truly find peace and happiness here.

And so, we use neti-neti to delete all of the things that are not God/Atman or pertaining to our soul. Because the goal of meditation is to unite ourselves with our divine self.

The key is to be incredibly patient with ourselves because we have decades of the habit of allowing our minds to spin and spin and spin. We just have to be strong within and practise.

Practising in Life

First we practise this “on the mat” and then we can practise it out in our everyday lives.

How often does your mind wander and start taking part in conversations, fears and dramas in your mind all day long? If you’re like me, it happens ALL OF THE TIME.

And so, the next time you are driving your car, standing on a streetcar, sitting at the in-laws, going for a walk, etc, just notice your thoughts. Are they focused on a topic that really isn’t nourishing your soul? If so, then gently say to them, “neti-neti”. Come back to yourself. Continue doing this until your mind is quiet.

And you know what happens then? We notice where we are. We notice the people around us. We notice the birds singing. We notice that we are happy, or sad, or tired. We remember who we actually are within the hum of humanity.

But the greatest thing is that we actually experience THIS moment. We are here. Right here in our life.

And this is where the happiness is. This is where the peace is.

This is where YOU really are.

A “Comical” Perspective on this…

Now, I can understand if this video seems harsh. My intention was not to upset anyone because we now know that many of these issues ARE much deeper than they are portrayed in this show. BUT… There is also an important message for us today.

We are coming into 2019. We have an opportunity to be very clear, to release old programs, old fears, old patterns. And we can release them almost instantly (especially when compared to 50 years ago which might have required years of therapy).

The time between our intention and manifestation of something is becoming shorter and shorter.

And so, the ability to edit our thought patterns can truly happen incredibly quickly.

Do, or Do Not. There is No Try – Yoda

Have you ever wanted to do something? Get fit, quit smoking, drinking, gambling, date a nice person, get up early, have some fun…

The reality is that if we want to stop smoking, then the only thing to do is… stop. It doesn’t matter about our childhood, our stresses at work, our star-sign or anything else. If we want to stop, eventually, the answer will be… to stop.

If we want to lose weight and get fit, then we must start walking every day or do something small that we can do. We can talk about all the reasons that we haven’t up until now. We can talk and talk and talk. We can have compassion for everything that we have been through in our lives. But the reality is that if we want to get fit, then we have to start using our bodies. Nothing else actually matters.

The same goes for the conversations that we have in our minds. If we find ourselves having old conversations over again or imagining new conversations with people you are angry with or sexy conversations with people you’ve never met, then the only discipline we need is to stop it.

Yes, we may have issues from our childhood, our past relationships, and even past lives. But it is only US in THIS moment who have the power to decide what we are going to replay in our minds. Regardless of what has ever happened in our lives up until this point, we have total power over what we choose to think about.

And the worst thing is that the whole time that our minds are spinning on events, conversations and things that AREN’T ACTUALLY HAPPENING, we are not living here in this moment. We have no idea where we are, who we are with or what is happening around us.

We have totally stopped living in THIS moment.

Going Forward:

Personally, I really love this skit. When my mind gets spinning on an upsetting topic, I can end up in a pretty dark place. But then I think about this skit and I hear Bob Newhart’s voice in my mind “STOP IT!”… It shocks me a little, stops the madness in my mind for a moment and then I realize that I don’t want to be thinking about this – it isn’t healthy and it isn’t doing me any good.

I have shown this video to many friends. It has become a friendly reminder when one of us is spinning on something unhealthy… One friend will stop the other and say (in Bob Newhart’s tone), “Hey… Stop it!” We immediately recognize that we’re doing it again, have a giggle, and then get on to a more enjoyable topic.

And so, this is my wish for you going forward – to be able to use the conviction of Bob Newhart’s voice to help you clear your mind and find peace. The voices, dramas and fears that continue to fill our minds can be very persistent and we have all kinds of accompanying thoughts that help them stay there.

And so, perhaps a quiet neti-neti will be enough to let those thoughts go.

But if that doesn’t work, then just hear a loud “STOP IT!” and send those thoughts packing.

It might seem silly. But it is incredibly effective. And soon, we are back in the present, remembering where we are and, if we are lucky, feeling thankful for what is.

And finding peace… here in the life that is happening right now.

About the Author:

Katrina BosKatrina Bos has been teaching meditation for many years in public classes, hospitals, shelters and to groups of all kinds. Her great joy is to share ancient truths and practices in today’s language in a context that makes sense to who we are today, in the world we are currently living in.

Meditation should be easy. It is a natural way that we relax our nervous systems and return to a resting state after a stressful experience. Meditation should not be complicated. It is a naturally human thing to do and we can ALL do it, once we find the way that works for us.

Her books include “What If You Could Skip the Cancer?” and “Tantric Intimacy: Discover the Magic of True Connection”.