I will pay the electricity bill as soon as I get up. I must remember to order dinner by 7 PM. I must call the bank to let them know I won’t be home to receive my PIN. It’s such a relief to have a result-oriented Prime Minister. Too bad all the ministers can’t be like him.
Are there similar voices in your head when you try to meditate?
You must have heard or read about just how calming and refreshing meditation can be. What is your experience when you sit down to meditate? Do you feel serene and peaceful? Or are you bombarded by a multitude of thoughts?
Do you find it difficult to stop thinking during meditation? See if the following ideas can prevent your thoughts from hounding you.
Meditation occurs when your thoughts subside, and your mind is at rest. But how do you put your thoughts to rest in the first place? They are mind boggling in number and range. They can come in the form of desires, ambitions, expectations, doubts, pleasant or unpleasant memories, anxieties … the list is endless.
Let’s explore ways of dealing with these sundry thoughts that distract us.
None of us are free from worries. Worries do not allow us to live fully in the present moment. This is because they mostly revolve around regret about the past or fears about the future. Try not to regret the mistakes of the past. Or keep planning for the future.
Regular meditation can teach you the fine art of living totally in the present moment.
Desire leads you to believe that something is left to be achieved in life. Your present state of affairs is not satisfactory. Desire is like a grain of sand in your eye. You can’t shut your eye nor open it. You simply can’t see past it or ignore it. Desire hampers your practice of meditation in a big way.
You cannot get into Yoga (union of mind, body and soul) unless you drop the desires or hankerings in you.” Bhagavad Gita
The desire to not have a desire, is also another kind of desire! Don’t try to control your thoughts. Allow them to come and go. Don’t cling on to them. Be dispassionate and detached from events and results, good or bad. In other words, be centered. Meditation helps you stay centered when desires flare up.
Some ambitious people tend to set goals for their meditation sessions as well! Ambition may sometimes manifest in obsessions to achieve. When this happens, the person plans incessantly for the future. Forgetting to live in the present. While designing castles in the air, the meditation session goes for a toss! It becomes a daydreaming session! Fun, but not constructive.
Meditation will help you accept the present as it is.
We all have doubts in our mind. It is a reflection of our insecurity, attachment and fear. Uncertainty surrounding the future increases it. When you close your eyes to meditate, it is possible that doubt conquers rational thoughts. It may even lead you to lose faith in meditation.
Remember that we tend to doubt the positive. There is rarely any doubt associated with negative acts or qualities. If someone says that he or she loves you, you may respond with a “Really?” But if the same person says, “I hate you!” are you likely to say, “Really?”
Recognize that doubt is a figment of your imagination. You will then be able to discard any doubt that arises during meditation.
More tips to get rid of thoughts during meditation
- Meditation is best done after some physical exercise. You can perform some yoga asanas. Both your body and mind will then welcome the rest that meditation brings.
- Don’t be in a problem solving mode. When you give up this attitude and surrender, your thoughts will disappear.
- In life, we tend to accept the positive and resist the negative. But what we resist tends to persist. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar suggests, “Shake hands with your negative thoughts. They will then disappear.”
- Allow all thoughts to come and go. Observe them as an impartial bystander. Don’t judge or categorize them. The mind also plays games with you. It makes you think that you are the sum total of your thoughts. Remind yourself that you are not your body, not your mind. There is more to you than just that.
- Meditation does not require you to concentrate or contemplate. In fact, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says that meditation is de-concentration. You also don’t have to solve, prove, plan or achieve anything. Meditation doesn’t require you to work hard. In fact, you just need to let go.
- A healthy diet also helps keep your thoughts in check.
- Ensure that you sleep adequately at night, so that meditation sessions don’t become nap times!
Meditation is not a magic wand that will bestow peace upon you. However, if you follow it with regularity, faith and sincerity, you will be blessed with tranquility. The thoughts that disturbed you during your meditation will automatically disappear. You will, then, be able to experience the deep rest that even a full night’s sleep cannot match!
Many guided meditations with Sri Sri are available online. There is also a Sahaj Samadhi Meditation program which can pretty much transform your life. Find a Sri Sri Yoga program at an Art of Living Center near you.
Do you need information on programs? Would you like to share your feedback? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org