The one thing that can derail our Meditation practice is our thoughts. You may have experienced this for yourself. You sit down with the intention to experience some inner peace and stillness, to relish in the heart and the moment you close your eyes, bam! You can’t switch your thoughts off.
This is a very common situation. Nearly everyone who meditates has to learn to deal with the thoughts in their mind during meditation. It is completely natural.
It is the nature of the mind to think. In the eastern traditions of India, the fluctuations of the mind are called Vrittis. The process of Meditation is to learn how to still these movements of the mind, but it takes time. So rather than being discouraged when thoughts arise during Meditation, simply know that it is part of the process.
So how can we work with our minds in Meditation?
All it takes is a simple technique that will help you let go of the mind in Meditation. The main point is to become a witness of what goes on rather than get absorbed in the content. So here are three simple tips that will help you relax in Meditation and let go of the grip of your thoughts.
1. Become the Witness
My favorite analogy, especially when I started meditating was that to think of myself as the sky and that thoughts are simply like clouds, they come and go. So when you are in Meditation, take this position. Become the witness of your mind. When thoughts arise watch them as you would if you were lying on the ground watching the sky. Witness the thoughts come and go. Don’t get absorbed in them. Just notice how they pass the screen of your awareness.
2. Focus on the breath.
Thoughts can take us on a journey. They can take us far away before we even realize we actually meant to be meditating. Focusing on the breath is a great way to anchor ourselves back in the present moment. And the more you practice this over time, the easier it will stay focused and the less of a hold your thoughts will have on you.
So if thoughts come up, the moment you become aware you are thinking, bring your mind back to the breath. Don’t beat yourself up for having those thoughts and not being able to focus. Simply bring your focus back to the breath. Do this again and again and over time your Meditation will become an extended experience of the serenity of now.
3. Use your senses.
One thing that stops our mind in its tracks is when we start to feel what is going on with our senses. The mind cannot think when we are focusing on our feelings. You can place your awareness on the feeling in your heart, or you can sense what it feels like to be sitting there quietly. How does your body feel? Feel the space around you. Feel the pulsation of energy in your body, whatever that feeling is if you stay aware of it, it has the ability to take you deep into meditation. The main point is to stick with the feeling and the sensation.
If you take hold of one of these three tips in Meditation you may notice that the mind starts to become your friend. It may loosen its grip on you and over time thoughts will dim and the presence of sweet stillness and serenity will take over. Meditation will become an experience of the eternal now and you will emerge refreshed.