During our daily lives and work, thousands of thoughts constantly come and go in our minds every day, many of which cause fatigue and stress in our lives. Even when we meditate, sit down and focus on an object to calm our minds, we still cannot escape those thoughts, although we desire to do so.
So what should we do with the constant stream of thoughts that arise during meditation? Read this article to find the appropriate method for yourself!
Meditation teacher Suzuki shares: “When you sit in meditation, don’t try to stop your thoughts. Let them be, and they will eventually cease on their own. If a thought arises, let it come and let it go. It won’t stay for long! When you try to stop it, you only make yourself uncomfortable.
Never let anything make you angry. What you think is coming from outside is actually the waves in your mind. If you don’t get upset by those waves, they will gradually become calmer… Emotions, thoughts and images that arise are all waves in the mind. There’s nothing outside of your mind. If you let your mind be natural, it will become quiet. This mind is what we call the true mind.”
The art of mindfulness, dear ones, is akin to a delicate dance with our thoughts, understanding their nature like ripples upon a serene pond. When we embrace the notion that our thoughts are the very essence of our meditation, we embark on a journey towards the realization of non-self, the illusory nature of the ego.
In the vast ocean of our minds, thoughts arise like waves, transient and fleeting. We must learn to observe them, without attachment or identification, for they are not truly ours to claim. A thought emerges, we acknowledge its presence with gentleness, like whispering to ourselves, “Ah, thinking, thinking.”
Allow not the lure of imagination or the desire to dissect the origins of thoughts to ensnare you. Instead, be present in the here and now, bearing witness to the thought’s arising and departing, as a lotus blossom unfurls and withers with the passage of time.
As we become adept in the sacred art of Vipassana meditation, we discover that our thoughts, once acknowledged, lose their grip upon us, like autumn leaves relinquishing their hold on a branch. Our attention, then, returns to the rhythmic dance of our breath.
With practice, we may choose to discern the myriad colors of our thoughts, naming them as “planning,” “imagination,” or “memory,” like a skilled artist distinguishing the subtle hues of a sunset. Yet, if we merely observe “thinking, thinking,” that too suffices.
The essence of this practice lies in recognizing thoughts as they blossom, not after they’ve withered. The moment we become aware of a thought’s presence, we strip it of its power to sway us.
Embrace thoughts not as hindrances, but as the very fabric of our meditation. Remain ever vigilant, my friends, maintaining mindfulness in the present, like a sentinel guarding the treasure of our true mind.
Allow thoughts, feelings, and images to rise and fall like the ebb and flow of the tide, free from resistance, judgment, or attachment. Merge with the true mind, observing the rise and fall of the waves with tender attention.
This gentle approach shall guide our minds to a state of tranquility, akin to a placid lake reflecting the moon’s soft glow. Be ever mindful, present in each breath, feeling and thought, like a wise gardener tending to the myriad flowers in their blossoming garden.
Author: Joseph Goldstein