The quality and substance of your thoughts will change as you increase your awareness and have more energy available in your attention. You will attract a different type of thought when you retain more power over time. Those thoughts too are just thoughts, but they are less likely to be darker, thicker, more difficult thoughts, ones that cause depressive moods or states.
The more clarity you have in your attention, the fewer thoughts will arise.
When you first start to meditate, it may seem like you’re thinking more thoughts than ever before. What’s really going on is you’re becoming more aware of the thoughts. It’s not that meditation causes more thinking; it’s that meditation helps you to perceive more of what’s going on in your mind. This can be disconcerting at first, but it’s a common experience. As you continue to meditate, it will pass. Don’t worry about it. They’re just thoughts.
If you find that your thoughts are disturbing, then you may want to practice a substitution form of mindfulness: When you notice a refrain of negative or difficult thoughts, train yourself to do something different with your mind. For example, if you’re prone to worry, such as about a big exam you have coming up, or a presentation you need to make to your boss, and you find yourself mentally fidgeting with the worry, where you start to obsess over it, then decide on something to use in its place. It could be as simple as a nursery rhyme. Decide that you’ll start “Twinkle twinkle little star” every time you catch yourself worrying about your worry-object. Then, see how quickly you can catch yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up when you realize you’re worrying again. Just catch it, and say, “Oh shoot, there I go again! Twinkle, twinkle, little star…” and say your nursery rhyme. You may only be able to get so far with reciting the rhyme before you’re off in worry-mode again, but that’s OK! Just catch yourself, and start the twinkle twinkle again. It does not matter how many times you go back to the worrying. You can make a game of it, and see if you will catch yourself again.
It’s like training a puppy: The puppy grabs your shoe and starts chewing on it, and you say, “Whoops!” and you swap out the shoe for a dog toy. You don’t get mad at the puppy. Chewing shoes is its nature; it’s what puppies do.
If your brain wants to think obsessively about something, you can give it something different to obsess on. “Twinkle twinkle” works wonders.
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