What Happens to Your Thoughts in Meditation?
The above is an anonymous quote, but it could easily reflect anyone’s sentiment exactly. So let’s start with thoughts in relation to your expectations of meditation.
Meditation does not require, nor allow us (sorry), to stop thinking. What I personally learned about my thoughts in meditation was that my thoughts had thoughts of their own like little mental henchmen hammering away at my sanity. Meditation brings an awareness to this. It is overwhelmingly unpleasant at first until you start to feel less and less controlled by these inconsequential thoughts.
Voila! The beauty of meditation!
It’s bad enough having a few worries whirring around in your brain, but those “extra” thoughts can create and carry on additional negative thoughts and patterns leading to a complete spiral effect. There goes your mood and emotions, reactions and everything else. Splat (Comic BOOM!)
Well that ain’t happening with meditation (and a little more practice)!
Basically, there’s no back-up bully to validate the negative thoughts. Without their entourage surrounding them, they automatically become less important. They’re not the star of the show anymore. Adios! Good news for you!
Will those thoughts still make an appearance? Yes, but we call them distractions now. Every forest has a few chipmunks- every brain has a few distractions. They’re just noise. Meditation is the mental workout made for these distractions.
First, we naturally become aware of our thoughts in meditation. Like, painfully aware! We eventually distinguish which thoughts are merely pestering distractions, and we can “booo” them off the stage. In meditation, the muscle we’re developing is watching and witnessing our thoughts without giving them the stage!
Imagine if you are sitting across from someone, and looking at them while seeing ALL of their thoughts; everything transparent to you. It would be quite a show- crazy, comical, emotional, and a sudden realization that is you too! So watch your thoughts as if it’s a show of someone else’s brain. You can watch with curiosity and amusement.
It sounds like this:
Did I eat lunch today?
How many calories in that latte?
It was too sweet.
I need to cut back on my sugar.
When you notice you’re distracted by thoughts…
I sneezed too much today.
I bet I’m getting a cold.
Oh God. I hope it’s not that flu going around.
Always come back to breath as soon as you’ve noticed you’re distracted.
(P.S The process gets easier)
Each time you become aware of your distractions, you win! This type of awareness overrides the pesky thoughts that burden you. They call this a bicep curl for your brain.
Are you still going to experience stress, anxiety, and depressions? Sure. Life happens. Shit happens, but you end up recognizing with clarity which thoughts lead you to feel worse, and you stop them in their tracks. You use meditation to exercise this and also to relax when it occurs. That’s why it’s a continuous practice like brushing your teeth.
You need meditation simply, if nothing else, because you do not live on an oasis in the middle of paradise (with no cares, worries, or especially other people) where you’re waiting to die of old age in a hammock between two palm trees. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take this crazy world and use my super-meditation powers!