Every waking moment of every day, we are bombarded with ideas. Random ideas. These ideas constantly ambush us from every possible direction. Picture a big, empty kitchen with large windows. Picture a smooth counter in this kitchen that stretches past your wingspan. Now, picture a large, open jar in the middle of this counter. The jar is filled half-way with jelly beans. This jar represents your mind. Each jelly bean: a random thought.
Your mind processes thoughts as your body would consume a jelly bean. It takes a thought, savors the color, the aroma, the texture... and the taste. It fully analyzes every detail of the jelly bean until finally it's exhausted and digested. Your mind then moves onto the next jelly bean...
So, as we mentioned, your jar is already half-full of thoughts, each and every one of which need to be given your mind's full attention in order to process. But we distract ourselves. We distract ourselves with things that end up only dropping more jelly beans into our jar. Every single day, we subconsciously collect more and more jelly beans in our jar... at a rate much faster than we can digest those already in our jar. This eventually results in our jar overflowing with information. Bits and pieces of solid thoughts that splash around in our minds. Some of these thoughts are special. Some of them have the potential to be life-changing. Most are not. However, it's in your best interest to allow your mind the time to correctly digest each and every thought. After all, your mind is the world's finest file cabinet of information. But if not given a proper chance, it will eventually overflow. Perhaps spilling over the counter. Perhaps filling the kitchen. Perhaps even eventually filling the house and spilling outside... leaving your peace of mind and serenity feeling buried alive.
This is when stress thrives. Our minds crack under the pressure of trying to keep up with the incoming thoughts. This is unhealthy. I picture meditation as a way of stepping back from the jar. Back from the counter. A way of telling the world, "Stop! You are not putting any more jelly beans in my jar today." This is the action that helps most. It allows your mind to stop letting in new information - even if just for a minute - and lets you focus on the digesting of those many jelly beans you already have in your jar.
In such a demanding, hyperactive, distracting world, it's hard to find peace. But sometimes you just need to stop. Stop everything you're doing, close your eyes, take a deep breath and enjoy a mental jelly bean. Have two. Or three. Or more. The more you take the time to enjoy, the better you will feel. The lighter your mind will feel. Enjoy everything you have while you still have it. You can never enjoy too many. I promise, once your jar nears empty, many more delicious jelly beans will find their way to your bowl.