Through meditation, we intend to seek a few moments of peace. However, we might find it hard to meditate because we can’t stop having thoughts. In this article, I provide simple tips that will help you to mind thoughts during meditation.
For the best meditative experiences, it is important to mind thoughts during meditation. Let me walk you through simple tips that will help you learn more about how to mind your thoughts.
1) Label Your Thoughts
To avoid losing yourself in your thoughts, label them. Human beings lose themselves amid thoughts related to the past, present, and future. As a result, they are unable to experience the peace that resides in the present moment. So, it is important to label your thoughts as past, present, and future. Once you do this, your mind becomes calm; it rejects thoughts related to the past and future. Now, your mind is all set to experience the bliss of the present moment.
2) Practice Neutral Awareness
Often, we lose ourselves in thoughts, and that is completely okay. But sometimes, you lose yourself among thoughts that disturb you. For instance, you are off to work, and a thought prances in your head saying that your boss will fire you today. Thoughts such as these can make you suffer more than you know. For some peace and calm, practice neutral awareness during meditation. While meditating, there are moments when you feel trapped in thoughts. You realize that you are getting lost in thoughts. Don’t judge this moment of realization and be. Notice how this realization creates a feeling of spaciousness inside your head. With neutral awareness, continue to watch the thoughts inside your head. Accept that thoughts are just thoughts, and they will always be there. I understand that you will feel the urge to judge your thoughts. Acknowledge that even judgment is another thought inside your head. In short, all you need to do is trust yourself and observe your mind working.
3) Use Your Breath As The Anchor
For beginners, it is nice to use breath as the anchor for minding thoughts during meditation. While you meditate, thoughts do take up your attention. When you have thoughts that trigger stress and anxiety, it feels tough to practice neutral awareness. So, it is important to hold on to a strong anchor and ground yourself. During meditation sessions, if you feel lost in thoughts, divert your attention to the breath. As you do that, you would be able to break free of thought patterns and be aware of the present moment.
4) Comfort Your Mind
Despite trying our best to break away from thoughts and allow them to pass, things might not work out. Our thoughts can trap us in unpleasant states of mind. A single thought can pull us into the plunging depths of anxieties and worries. Since we dislike unpleasantness, we berate ourselves for entertaining thoughts that tend to trigger anxiety and worry. However, you must also know that it is futile to become angry with yourself for having thoughts. Don’t be angry with yourself for experiencing anxious or worrying thoughts. Instead, practice kindness and accept that it is okay for the mind to churn out unpleasant thoughts. If you can do that, you can calm yourself down.
5) Tune In To Your Sensory Experiences
Apart from using the breath as an anchor or practicing neutral awareness, you can ground yourself by giving attention to your sensory experiences. While meditating, pay attention to what you hear. Maybe, you hear things like the sound of the fan in the room, the chirping of the birds on the tree, etc. Whatever be the hearing experiences, be attentive. You can also focus on the things you see in the room or notice the feelings in your body.
6) Ask Your Mind What Is Next
Eckhart Tolle tells us to ask ourselves this simple question: What will my next thought be about? Once we ask this question, our mind can disassociate itself from the process of thinking. As this happens, you open yourself up to spaces of silence and calmness.
The things you can do to handle thoughts during meditation sessions are labeling your thoughts, practicing neutral awareness, using the breath as the anchor, comforting your mind, tuning in to sensory experiences, and watching the next thought. As you practice these tips, your meditation experiences get better and better.