MBSR learning #4: Observe your run-away thinking

Here is another great learning from my mindfulness class:

The #1 biggest obstacle for people when meditating is feeling frustrated when they can’t quiet their mind – their mind keeps getting distracted by thoughts that interrupt their meditation. Meditation becomes frustrating and they feel like they can’t meditate.

It is fundamentally important to realize that the mind will have thoughts during meditation. The mind will wander. The mind will jump around like a monkey.

The key is this:

Be mindful and aware that these thoughts are happening, and gently bring your attention back to the chosen focus of your meditation (whether it is your breath, a mantra, sensations in your body, etc). This in itself is being mindful.

Here is a great analogy:

Train station

Let the trains of thought come and go, but don’t get on.

Think of your distracting thoughts as a train.  When you are meditating or practicing simple mindfulness, you may be aware that the distracting thought (the train) has arrived. What you do not want to do is ‘get on the train’ and feed the thought or keep with the thought. It’s like you are at a train station, watching the trains come and go, but do not get on. Or if find yourself already on the train, be mindful and get off the train.

As you practice mindfulness meditation, you will get increasingly better at recognizing when the train arrives, and get better at not getting on the train, and letting the train pass you by and go away.

This is being mindful. This brings more peace into your life.

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