When people share their meditation experience I often hear “I can’t stop thinking” or “I have too many thoughts” or “My mind is racing.”
One of the popular myths of meditation, is the idea of having to completely rid oneself of thoughts. This is not the goal of meditation. Even if you tried it would be unlikely you could cease all thought for the duration of your meditation, unless you’re a buddhist monk who has meditated daily for his entire life.
Supposing this is not you, here is something to think about (perhaps even during your meditation). According to a Harvard study, human beings have between sixty and eighty thousand thoughts a day. And that is the average human being. Never mind us extremely cerebral “Aquarian” types that have a tendency to live in our minds. With 73 thoughts racing through our mind every minute, it would be a feat of superhuman power to completely eliminate them ALL. With this expectation, It is no wonder many give up the practice before they experience the many benefits.
So next time you sit in meditation, whether you are a beginner or an advanced practitioner, remember let go of trying to rid yourself of your thoughts. Let the thoughts move on by as if carried by a river’s momentum, neither attaching meaning or significance to them. Even when a river meets resistance in the form of rocks or trees it flows around. Your thoughts, too, can be a part of the current, moving ever towards the greater ocean of life.
In fact when you let go of any ideas, goals, or expectations of what your meditation should look like, it truly will be freedom.
Like thoughts floating effortlessly
in the changing landscape of my mind
delicate sheets of ice, rice paper thin,
penetrate deep below the surface
carried by the river's momentum.
At once malleable
moving along with mystery
in this vast watery passageway.
constantly in flux