I remember sitting in the dentist chair; I was around 10 and for a change I was not trying or thinking about escaping. I guess I was resigned to being there with my mouth swung open and his fingers going in and out. At one point he handed me the saliva ejector and had me hold it in a specific spot about a foot away from my face. He told me to be ready to hand it to him when he asked.
I did not realize it at the time but it worked. All I could think about was being ready to hand him the saliva ejector. I was prepared and remained poised for action. The thoughts of escape were gone and I was now part of the play of the moment. In effect he was playing dentist and I was playing the patient. We each had our roles and one could not be played without the other. We became a team.
It has been many years and I have formulated another theory. You probably remember studying in school and having music playing in the background. Your parent came in and told you to stop listening to music, turn it off and start studying. You did as told and then without the music were unable to concentrate on the page in front of you. What happened?
Maybe your mind has compartments that are all trying to attract your attention. You want to go to the studying compartment but the, I want to think about getting something to eat compartment is screaming louder or the I want to whatever is even louder. It seems that you can soothe these noisy compartments by giving them something to focus their attention on something to quiet them down. Music can settle these active compartments of the mind just as rocking a baby can allow its natural internal mind/body state to sleep. The distraction of music or rocking, is a distraction of only one part of your conscious mind. Once this habitually active part of your mind is kept busy by some distraction the remainder of your mind can place its attention as you direct it.
Try this; look out a window towards a tree. Notice how you are feeling; your state of stillness. Next notice the movement of the leaves; the windier the better. Look for the movement of the leaves. Watch this for a moment and allow your mind’s movement the un-stillness of your thoughts to match the movement of the leaves on the tree. In a moment you may notice a shift of your internal state. Your mind/body has been relieved of the busyness of your scattered thoughts. Your true self can be appreciated and a sense of floating in peace, calm and stillness is present.