Meditation means you clear your mind and stop thinking, right?
No. Not really. Not in my experience.
What if thoughts are a natural part of life – and therefore should be expected in meditation?
What if you tried to do what you thought you were supposed to do – in order to meditate- but you were doing the “wrong” thing because you have the wrong information with which you are operating?
That might, on one hand, be a relief to those of you who have tried meditation and felt like you just “can’t” meditate. Does it feel that way to you? I hope so.
Let’s unpack what it means to meditate (if it is not about clearing the mind and stopping thoughts)…
So – if you sit in meditation (with an effective meditation tool to take your awareness inward) what should you expect and what is it that you are supposed to be doing then?
You Should Expect ANYTHING – who knows what may happen! Wait- what?
Yes. You don’t actually know what will happen in there. Neither do I. No one does.
However – I can tell you after almost 20 years of meditating and training and teaching, there are some categories of experience that you might expect…
Types of Experiences During Meditation:
- Lots of Thoughts
- Dream-like or Trippy (still treated as and considered thoughts)
- Reliving of a Memory (a big thought)
- Sleep (the thought of nothing)
- Noticing, Witnessing, Clear-Minded Peace (the one we all chase after – but should really chill out about)
I’m fairly certain that any experience you could/will have would fall within these categories (in terms of the way many of us define/categorize them anyway).
During Meditation, you may find yourself efforting or relaxing. You may find that it seems uncomfortable to sit there, or not. You may find it enjoyable and delicious. You may find that things have been one way for some time and then change. None of this matters and none of it is of any concern so long as we continue to practice. Having said this, for me, experienced, qualified guidance has made all the difference in the world to accept, move-on, allow, deepen, expand, keep committed to and find confidence in practice and in the benefits and experiences it produces.
What allowing and relaxing into the practice of meditation gives to us is a powerful foundation to not only practice meditation from, but to live life from. So first and foremost, friend, give up any idea that thoughts – having a lot, having few, having brilliant ones, having ugly ones – has anything to do with how well you are meditating. Give up any idea that suggests that you can gauge your success in this way. It’s an erroneous, yet sadly common belief almost everyone initially has around meditation.
Thoughts are ok. Let them come. Let them go. Who cares.
What you can care about instead is: how much attention can you put on your meditation tool – on the technique that you are using? Can you notice any spaciousness, any sense of peace in your experience at all? Can you allow for your mind to move outward on thought without judgment and simply come back to the practice with your full attention instead?
Go ahead – go play with this…and let me know how it’s going.
Oh hey! If you don’t have an effective tool and would like immediate initial support with basic meditation, sign up for the free How to Meditate course and get started.
Also – if you are seriously interested in a rock-solid meditation practice and would like some live support, check out whether or not there is a weekend course happening in your area for the Bright Path Ishayas’, First Sphere Weekend where the meditative tools collectively known as Ascension are taught. This is my personal practice since 1999! Our teachers, myself included, teach around the world in a live format (typically on the weekend) only. Check out the practice of Ascension and find your way to the Schedule of live weekend courses!