A quiet mind is a virtue. There is a wonderful quote in the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic philosopher and virtuous Roman Emperor, that reminds me of the importance of attaining a quiet mind in this life.

Remember how you have been putting off these things, and how many times you have been given days of grace, and yet you do not use them. Now is it high time to perceive the kind of Universe whereof you are a part and from whom you subsist as an effluence, and that the term of your time is circumscribed, and that unless you use it to attain calm of mind, time will be gone and you will be gone and the opportunity to use it will not be yours again.

Meditation is often recommended as the way to achieve this. However, when starting out to practice meditation, it is easy to give up if your thoughts are very loud. It is hard to imagine what a quiet mind is like if it remains conceptual.

The direct experience of a mind without thought is blissful and an incredible motivator to persist in the practice of meditation, but it may seem impossible if you are not familiar with this experience yet.

In my own meditation practice, I have found that knowing what to look for can help tremendously. So here is a little trick that is both easy and accessible. Every morning, in the moment of waking and becoming conscious of your world again, right between sleep and waking, there is a natural moment of silence. Normally, when we wake up, the mind kicks in, thoughts simply resume where they left off last night and this moment remains unnoticed.

See if you can be vigilantly aware of the moment of silence between sleeping and waking.

Try stalling the booting process of the mind by concentrating on this moment for as long as you can, without allowing thoughts to enter your consciousness. This is what you are looking for in your meditation practice; a pure state of awareness without the filter of the mind. Try to manage to remain in this moment of silence for at least three seconds and then slowly build up your practice from there.

Good luck and feel free to write to me, I am always keen to hear about your experiences. And if you are looking for simple, no-nonsense guided meditations, I recommend the guided meditations by Daniel Schmidt, founder of the Samadhi Center.