You’ve finally gotten the kids to bed. The house is quiet, the world seems to be at peace, and you’ve got the chance to meditate. You settle down into a comfortable position, begin to let your body relax, and you get control of your breathing like you’ve been taught to do. Your mind begins to wander around a bit and you start to explore. Then BOOM! You remember that you’ve got to get the dishwasher started and – oh yeah – there’s still lunch to make for the kids tomorrow and did you remember to add fabric softener in with the last load?
You get frustrated at the thoughts that begin to race and for the fact you forget to do a couple things. Your mood is gone. The peace and tranquility aren’t coming back! This is where most people find themselves in the world of meditation… and it doesn’t need to be that way.
Having Thoughts During Meditation Is Natural
The issue of this frustration that can shatter a mood comes from the expectation that people are taught during the beginning of their journey toward meditation. Many teachers, articles, and books encourage people to eliminate all thoughts so they can explore the subconscious in a pure state. This might be the end goal of the journey, of course, but who begins a journey of a 1,000 steps on step #998? No one.
To expect thoughts not to creep in during a meditation is an unreasonable expectation. It’s ok to have thoughts about making lunch or wondering about the fabric softener. How you react to these thoughts is what is important.
Instead of Frustration, Look For Resolution
If you’ve got racing thoughts during a meditation session, the first thing to do is to just take another deep breath and relax. It’s your brain doing what it does naturally! It’s really ok. What you need to do is work on finding a resolution to these thoughts so that they will go away. If you forgot to make lunch for the kids, create a plan of action that will quickly resolve the thought. If you don’t remember putting fabric softener in, will it really be the end of the world?
Thoughts that bring on self-doubt are really thoughts that generate negative self-talk. The frustration isn’t aimed at the tasks. The emotion is geared inward because you are considering yourself a failure. This is what causes the meditation cycle to break, which just reinforces the negative stereotype that is developing.
Stay open to the thoughts. Listen to them. Resolve them if you believe they could lead you into a negative state of mind. Be casual about the entire experience, but most importantly, be honest about it with yourself as well. If you are accepting of yourself, then you will create more stability in each meditation session over time as you continue to build up your mental strength.
Your journey will take time. Allow yourself to develop, grow, and explore and you’ll experience even new depths as you continue to meditate!