A few years ago when I got familiar with meditation I didn’t know where it would take me. I had no expectations and no set goals with it. Meditation took me to a journey on which I have discovered how powerful my mind was and how I let it control me not in a nice way for quite some time. Now, finally, I’m working towards being more friendly with my thoughts, emotions and most of all my inner self.
If you are a type of a person who is too analytical like I was (and still am) then I guess meditation will be or already is a huge challenge. Most of the people who start to meditate usually have difficulties with all the thoughts coming. And to be honest, this is not just happening when we are meditating. We are in our mind almost all the time. Thinking, thinking, analyzing, judging, comparing, going from the past to the future in our heads over and over again. It’s a lot of work for our heads and mind during the day, don’t you think? We live in our heads more than we live in our bodies.
What often happens is that we get attached to one thought that may appear at some particular moment or situation and stick to it as it is the truth about us. For example, I fail on my exam and my first thought is: “I’m stupid”, after some time at my job I make a mistake and again here it is the familiar thought: “I’m stupid”. Eventually, after some time, I start believing this thought as it is a fact about me which is that I am really stupid.
Our thoughts can be really harsh towards ourselves and, unfortunately, we often fall into these mind traps that we spontaneously create.
Here meditation can help you in becoming a friend with your own mind.
Meditation helps you to learn how to observe your thoughts without getting attached to them as truths about yourself, how to observe them without judgment, but with awareness and kindness. You realize that your thoughts just come and go like clouds in the sky and you practice how to let them be without getting controlled by them. You can’t stop your thoughts from appearing, but you can change your attitude and approach towards them. Being more aware, compassionate and kind, you learn to live with your thoughts and accept them as they are in a friendly and nonjudgmental way.
I often refer to the quote of Jon Kabat-Zinn when people ask me how can they “stop” all the thoughts they have during meditation and in life in general, and it goes: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
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