#1 Meditation problem – the busy mind

busy mindThe most common meditation problem people have is the busy mind.  I often hear ‘I can’t calm down my mind. I can’t stop thinking. My mind is so busy.’

I want to share a number of techniques that may help you deal with your thoughts during a meditation session. Whenever you get an intrusive thought, try one or more of these ways to help the thought disappear:

  • Put the thought into a open box beside you. Allow yourself to know that the thought will be there later for you to tend to, because for now, you do not need that thought.
  • Allow the thought to float away on a cloud
  • Allow the thought to float upwards inside a bubble, and it gently pops into thin air
  • Allow the thought to flow down a stream on a leaf then disappear
  • Treat the thoughts as a train arriving towards you, but it does not stop and you don’t get on the train. Allow the train (thought) to pass by you and travel away.

Other ways to help calm your busy mind:

  • Actively focus on something during your meditation – like focusing on your breath, or listening to an audio guided meditation.
  • Give yourself permission to be still, and to put aside your thoughts for this moment.
  • Think of thoughts as visitors, not as irritants. They are fleeting and come and go.

Most importantly, have no expectations of your practice. Thoughts will naturally occur. Notice when you have moments of the calm mind and savour them, even if it is only for a few seconds. The goal is to become aware of thoughts and gently bring your focus back to your meditation. Even if this happens hundreds of times during a session, it’s OK.  Over time you will notice more instances and durations of the calm mind.

Related article:  Is a quiet mind expected in meditation?

I hope this has been helpful.


4 thoughts on “#1 Meditation problem – the busy mind

    • It is the biggest ‘problem’ for basically everyone. But when we accept that our minds will do that they will do, and that we notice and savour the moments of stillness even if only for a few seconds here and there, we start to enjoy meditation more. Not judging ourselves is an important attitude for meditation that helps greatly.

      Thank you for commenting, because I know most people find the busy mind frustrating and we need to realize it is normal.


      • “Not judging ourselves is an important attitude for meditation that helps greatly.” – taht make sense. Unfortunately I am judging my self all the time. Thaks for the post and suggestions.

      • Hi Niranjan, we are much too hard on ourselves. Letting go of judgment means letting go our our ego. Even if you allow yourself to let the ego go for a few minutes, you have given yourself a freedom that you will enjoy.

        We can be our own toughest critics – but why? Allow yourself to simply be who you are and accept yourself in that moment of meditation. See if you can find moments during meditation where you drop the judgment. Don’t even expect to be judgment-free for the entire meditation. Start with baby steps. 🙂

        Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Have a wonderful day.

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