This morning during my seated meditation I was thinking about the power of mindfulness. Yes, you read that correctly. I was thinking during my meditation. Exasperated clients complain about not being able to stop their thoughts during meditation as well. I’m not alone!
If you are struggling to stop your brain from thinking during meditation too, I have a few questions for you:
Do you try to stop your stomach from digesting food?
Do you fight to make your lungs stop processing air?
….then why are you hell bent on forcing your brain to stop doing what it was made to do?
MEDITATION IS NOT THE PROCESS OF STOPPING ALL THOUGHTS!
There’s a widespread erroneous notion that when we sit, along with stopping all movement, we stop thinking. That couldn’t be further from the truth because my brain goes ALL OVER THE PLACE! In the early days of my practice I’d revisit old relationships just to “enjoy” feeling that pain in my chest one more time. I’d think about all the things I need to do but know I won’t do. I’d think about people I needed to apologize to and people who I thought needed to apologize to me. My all time favorite thoughts were ruminations about my sweetie that inevitably led to misery for us both once I got off the cushion.
But a crazy thing happened over time. I started to have more control over my thoughts and how far down the path I let them take me. Instead of spending 15 minutes of a 20 minute sit microanalyzing the significance of a missed text (lol), I was increasingly able to observe those thoughts, let them go and turn back to observing my breath. I also noticed that the thoughts became fewer with longer spaces of peace and stillness in between them.
If you need some help starting a mindfulness practice download my Meditation Basics guide
AWARENESS IS THE END ALL AND BE ALL
Our brains will NEVER stop thinking and we need to be thankful for that. Let that goal go! The awareness of your thoughts should be the goal of your meditation practice. That awareness, when done in a nonjudgmental way, in the present moment, is the textbook definition of mindfulness. Awareness of a thought allows us to examine its veracity and our emotional response to it. From there we can decide if we want to keep thinking that thought. We all know that in order to change behavior we have to change our thoughts. How can you change what you don’t know is there? If it’s true that our first thought is the true thought and maybe the best course of action it would make sense that we take the time to learn how to slow down the flow of mental chatter and cultivate some stillness between thoughts so we can identify the whisper of intuition and move with it. These benefits don’t come with one day of meditation, or two or three. I can’t honestly tell you with any true certainty when they will come, but if you do it, they will come!
Here’s a short mindful breathing practice to use daily. Mindful breathing is amazing for deactivating the stress response and taking you back down to calm when some stimuli, external or internal has amped up your emotions.
If you’re interested in daily support to help you cultivate this practice and the awareness that accompanies it, I encourage you to take my
It’s completely nonreligious and totally about meditation and mindfulness. I’m sure you’ll love it.
Until October 9th it’s yours FREE! Bless yourself with this cleanse!