Yes, you have a busy mind. Yes, congratulations, you are human!
You may know about the mindfulness concept called the ‘Monkey Mind’, which is the name given to your busy mind. You know that one I’m talking about — you have so much going on in your life, so your mind jumps around like a monkey. It’s rather annoying at times, and it’s hard to calm it down. That’s the monkey mind.
So to gain a little peace and calm in your life, you take up meditation. Hopefully you have had some good instruction from a qualified meditation facilitator. But wait! You sit in meditation and get frustrated because your monkey mind just won’t shut down.
Having thoughts is normal, it’s human. And as you practice meditation, you will notice an increase in focus and concentration. You’ll be increasingly more capable of focusing in the object of your meditation, such as your breath, a visualization, or a silent mantra. But every single time I teach meditation everyone remarks on how they can’t stop their thoughts.
Here’s the key: Meditation is not about achieving a totally blank or calm mind throughout the entire meditation. Meditation is about focusing, and then when your mind does wander (and it will!), your job is to notice when it has wandered, then re-focus on the object of your meditation.
So, a great tip is to change how you regard your wandering mind – instead of getting frustrated and disappointed when this happens, congratulate yourself for noticing when your mind has strayed. Feel good that you’ve noticed! Feel good that you are aware! See your awareness as a positive, not a negative.
Every time you notice your mind was wandered, know that you are doing a good job in meditation!
Doesn’t that change your perspective on the wandering mind? When I teach this in class, people feel relief and start to enjoy meditation so much more.
Please give this a try, and enjoy.
~Wendy Quan, of The Calm Monkey.