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▣ What about mental chatter when I meditate?

posted by admin on May 23rd, 2009 at 9:52 AM

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I have been trying meditation for a little while now but I keep having thoughts come into my head when I am trying to meditate.  What is the best thing to do about this?  Should I get out a piece of paper and write them down?  Stop meditating until they go away or what?

A large number of people who start meditating say they want to meditate because they desire the ability to shut off the mental chatter; and many people who meditate stop meditating because they cannot turn the chatter off and so think that there is no use to meditating if they cannot shut the mental chatter off. 

 

I have been trying meditation for a little while now but I keep having thoughts come into my head when I am trying to meditate.  What is the best thing to do about this?  Should I get out a piece of paper and write them down?  Stop meditating until they go away or what?

A large number of people who start meditating say they want to meditate because they desire the ability to shut off the mental chatter; and many people who meditate stop meditating because they cannot turn the chatter off and so think that there is no use to meditating if they cannot shut the mental chatter off. 

 

Of course, the first and most important thing you can do about these distracting thoughts is to stop worrying about them.   Mental chatter is a wonderful reminder that we are alive, that we have the ability to think, and that we have choices in our lives. And, remember that when you stop worrying about the mental chatter, you are able to relax and more quickly reach a deeper level of meditation where this mental chatter will become quieter and often silent. Even people who have been meditating for decades find mental chatter in their meditations. 

 

Let me start out by stating that one of the most wonderful gifts we have as human beings is our ability to think.  Human beings experience about 50,000 thoughts a day. Each individual is aware of chatter, but most of us cannot fathom the idea that we are thinking 50,000 thoughts a day. In addition, cognitive research has shown that outside of conscious awareness, individuals record and gather more information than what they experience through their conscious thoughts.   In essence, subconsciously we are gathering information that we are unaware of consciously and those thoughts also contribute to our mental chatter. 

 

Thinking is how we process our lives. The mind is the storehouse of our habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. We are constantly processing this information and comparing the information we house in our jars with the information others house in their jars. We weigh our successes, failures, desires, fears, etc., against that of others, of what others think, believe, experience, etc., in an effort to justify our lives, e.g., our choices, our desires, our fears, and much more. 

 

Mental chatter is a natural process. It is one way we can become aware of what is ready to be examined, healed, released, and changed. Our thoughts are like little children.   Most of us have experienced a time or two when we have been preoccupied when a child has been trying to get our attention. What happens? The child gets louder or does something that ultimately we cannot ignore and we must then do something about it.

 

Another aspect to mental chatter is the role that our egos play in trying to divert our attention. When we finally make a decision to meditate or to make changes in our lives, a part of us (the ego) can feel threatened; thus, setting up a series of obstacles, such as mental chatter to distract us during meditation, time constraints so that we think that we do not have time to meditate, or give us the thought that meditation is not working, etc. The ego is a very important part of our human experience.   It would be helpful for us to set a goal of working with the ego in partnership rather than giving into it or trying to shut it out. 

 

What do I do with these distracting thoughts?

As stated earlier, the first and most important thing you can do about these distracting thoughts is to stop worrying about them.  

 

Secondly, make an appointment with yourself to meditate. This may sound a bit silly, but it works. Making an appointment immediately sets up a mental space for meditating. Try it.   Also, right before you meditate, take a few minutes to sit with a piece of paper and write down some of the thoughts you are having about your week, your day, or the last couple of hours. Bless the piece of paper, put it aside with the intention that you will address it after you meditate or the next day; but do set the intention.

 

Thirdly, if your mental thoughts are really strong while you are meditating, acknowledge them. Tell them you are grateful for them, but you are meditating and they need to back off until you are finished meditating. Then, take a deep breath and go back to meditating.  If they interrupt you again, repeat this same process.  Eventually, your mind will get it and you will become less interrupted by them.  Often, not interrupted at all.

 

Lastly, but most importantly, set an intention, a goal for meditating.  By setting an intention, you create a blank canvas where you paint the picture of what meditating is for you and what you desire to accomplish by meditating. Set up your intention with some words like…

Meditation is the quiet place within me where I go to relax, release, energize, create, and receive that which is best for me at this time and place in my life.  My meditations take me to that peace-filled inner part of my being where I am filled with love, forgiveness, peace, and knowingness; where I AM COMPLETE!

 

“Seek always for the answer within.

Be not influenced by those around you,

by their thoughts or their words.”

Eileen Caddy, God Spoke to Me

 

“Life is full and overflowing with the new.

But it is necessary to empty out the old

to make room for the new to enter.”

Eileen Caddy, Footprints on the Sand

 

last edited on June 7th, 2009 at 7:09 PM

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