Maybe you’ve been there.
It’s deep in the night when you should be slumbering peacefully.
Instead, your mind is turning something over and over and over.
At 2 a.m., my hamster mind feels free to explore a wide range of topics.
“Y’know, the phrase ‘apropos of nothing’ really bugs me,” it will suddenly say. “And also, the expression ‘easy peasy.’ And periods. Used. Like. This.”
I roll over and whisper, “let’s go back to sleep,” but the busy hamster feels duty-bound to remind me about the too-small sum I got after plugging my numbers into a Retirement Calculator yesterday.
Now the hamster leads me through the Home Depot parking lot to the shed kits. “Do you think we can afford the Majestic Western Cedar model to live in when we retire?” it asks. “Or will we have to go with the Val-U fiberboard economy shed?”
If that doesn’t get my attention, the relentless rodent moves on to worrisome topics like the peeling paint on the west windows of the house. Or the high price of health insurance. Or the National Debt. Or Tibet.
Late Night Worries
Why is it that issues loom so large at 2 a.m.?
Fortunately, with practice it’s possible to stop the hamster wheel. The next time your mind is stuck in a loop of worry, try this simple meditation:
1. Get comfortable in your favorite sleeping position.
2. Take several slow, deep breaths.
3. Send up a prayer for good sleep, if you like.
4. Think of a 2-syllable word that will soothe you. Some ideas:
- At Peace
5. With your word in mind, silently say the first syllable as you breathe in, and the second as you slowly breathe out. Inhale peace, exhale worry.
6. The goal is to do 20 consecutive quiet reps with no other thoughts, simply breathing in and out as you repeat the word.
7. If your thoughts interrupt the process, which they probably will, gently steer your mind back to the meditation and start counting again at #1.
8. Each time you do that gentle steering back, you’re working a muscle that will eventually grow stronger. The more you practice, the more naturally you’ll be able to quiet your thoughts and settle the busy little hamster.
9. Like drifting off with anesthesia, you will usually be asleep before you reach 20 reps.
Try it and see!
If this meditation helps you, I’d love to hear your experience.
Wishing you peaceful slumber and sweet, rodent-free dreams in the nights to come.
P.S. You might also enjoy “7 Natural Ways to Get a Good, Deep Night’s Sleep.”
Grateful thanks to Su-May for permission to use the photo of Tarquin the hamster.
About Eliza Cross
Eliza Cross is the author of 16 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.
2 thoughts on “A Meditation for Hamster Wheel Mind”
I fear I’m not disciplined enough to force my mind not to wander with these sorts of exercises. But here’s what works for me. Did you ever see the movie The Matrix? I actually hated the film because it was soooo violent, but I loved the premise (which is basically that we’re not living in the real world, we’re just experiencing a very elaborate computer simulation designed to keep us distracted.) Anyhow, there’s a scene in the movie where a young sage-like child who has sorta figured out the scheme is bending a spoon with his mind. Our protagonist looks at him with curiosity, and the kid says (paraphrasing here)
“Do not try to bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Only try to realize the truth.”
“The truth?” our protagonist asks.
“There is no spoon.” replies the child.
Soooo… when I can’t sleep because something is running around in my brain, I just lay there and say to myself “there is no spoon, there is no spoon, there is no spoon” and pretty soon I’m asleep.
And if that doesn’t work, then I just try to remember the last dream I had, and try to get back into the dream, and that ALWAYS works for me!
Sweet Dreams! 🙂
p.s. I think it’s hilarious that beneath the post is an advertisement for hamster wheels! Ahhh the algorithm driven world in which we live… there is no spoon… there is no spoon… there is no spoon…
Sometimes my mind won’t let me fall asleep as soon I wished. So I’ll definitely try your suggestion! Thanks for sharing!