I have a friend who is faced with an important decision. She has been going back and forth for a long time now, and can’t make up her mind.

I don’t know the answer either; only she can really know. I have asked her if a sounding board might help her on her way, but it appears that maybe the weight of this choice is just too much for her to face at all. She wishes with all her might that the decision would be made, for once and for all, allowing her to move on, but she is the only one who can decide. And so she goes through her days with a very large burden always on her shoulders.

As a last offering to my friend, I suggested meditation. She could practice clearing her mind of the chatter that was constantly messing with her. By breathing and sitting mindfully, she might be able to find some refreshment, even if just for twenty minutes.

I don’t know if she has taken my suggestion to heart, and truly, I don’t need to know. But it has been a good reminder for me too, of the importance of giving oneself the gift of mindfulness — to sit quietly, focusing on breathing or a mantra, releasing any thoughts as they come up. Or to take a walk in total awareness of your surroundings, allowing all attention to be rooted in the present. Noticing the sounds and the colors and the way one’s feet come in contact with the earth or floor. Practicing mindful concentration can feel so freeing. And dismissing the chatter? Priceless.

This can be more difficult than it sounds. The more challenging it is, however, the more helpful it can be to keep practicing! And it is so pleasant to arrive at a place of freshness and renewed vitality, such as that which a short period of lovely meditation can bring.

Mindfulness will not make your decisions for you, but from that place, you can take a look at them from a new vantage point, and perhaps the path toward the answer will come into sharper focus. There is nothing like a clear head when important thinking needs to happen.