I often read about the benefits of meditation, or hear my friends praise it. They talk about how it quiets the inner voices that are constantly chattering in their heads.
I think I’ve been practicing my own kind of meditation lately. The voices that are chattering in my head are usually about the past or the future, so to quiet them, I try to focus on the present. I simply ask myself the question, “What do I see?” Then I try to describe in words everything around me. If I’m walking in the woods I name the shape and color of the clouds (that’s really challenging), the leaves, the tree bark, and the path I’m walking on. If I’m standing in a line, I describe the features and clothing on the people around me, or the view out the window. If I’m driving, I describe the brake lights on the cars ahead of me, the road signs, or the buildings I pass. It’s amazing what I learn about the world when I simply use my senses to observe it.
Or I shut my eyes and ask myself, “What do you hear?” and suddenly become aware of the cicadas, birds, airplanes and soft breezes. While my eyes are shut, I might ask myself, “What do you feel?” and realize that I’m sitting at an angle that hurts my back, or that a glass of water would be nice right now.
If you’re a dominant intuitive, like me, it’s fun to suddenly notice the details in the world around you. It’s like going on a vacation, without ever leaving the place you’re in. It must be the way a dominant sensing type, my opposite, feels when they sit down and reflect on yesterdays or make plans for tomorrows.
I guess I’m suggesting that you don’t have to empty your mind to get relief from the chattering in your mind. You can fill it with something completely new. If your dominant function is thinking, you can ask yourself, “What are my feelings right now?” and try to find the words that accurately describe your emotional state. If your dominant function is feeling, you might try counting things (“how many American cars are in this parking lot?”), pricing things (“what do I spend on lattes a year?”), or giving things numerical rankings (“on a scale from 1 to 10, how would I rate this meal?”).
We usually think of our least preferred functions as the source of all our problems, but they’re also a source of energy and refreshment. It’s nice to know that we all have an unexplored wonderland inside us, waiting for those days when we feel we’ve had enough of our usual way of thinking, and want to experience something completely new.