Unfortunately, you can’t really clear your mind. The actual fact that thinking your mind is clear negates the concept. So, let’s just use this phrase anyway, regardless of it's true nature, to describe how we can stop the treadmill of thoughts that go through your mind in preparation for meditation, relaxation therapy, self-hypnosis, or whatever you want to call it.
The first activity is to create a mental stamp that you are about to use on your thoughts, and on it is the word “THOUGHT” with a never-ending supply of ink. Next you need a focal point, like your breathing pattern or even the image of an inanimate object like an angel you sit out on your shelf at Christmas. As you sit or lie in silence, well, as silent as you can achieve, your eyes close, you notice your breathing, and all of a sudden, here they come.
All the items on your to-do list, what you need at the grocery store, what time you scheduled tomorrow’s meeting, what you will say at tomorrow’s meeting, what will you wear to tomorrow’s meeting…
The list of “thoughts” is endless, right? And while you are supposed to be clearing your mind, the exact opposite seems to be occurring. Never fear; just take out your trusty old “THOUGHT" stamp and let’s get busy. As soon as a thought comes in, stamp it as a “thought” and then let it go. As best as you can, come back to your focal point, as described earlier. Oh look, another thought is coming in. What to do? Yep, stamp it! And back to your focal point.
This can go on for probably 5 minutes or so, but then those thoughts seem to slow a bit, and it seems easier to stay focused on your intended target. A few minutes more and you are totally “clear” and you can stay there for as long as you feel necessary, or until the alarm goes off that you set for yourself (which is a good idea because sleep is often a side-effect of this practice, and that’s ok).
So, give this a shot, and if it works, then great. If it didn’t, don’t think you did it wrong, just get a bigger stamp next time. Let me know how it goes!