We need to get something straight here. There is no such thing as a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ meditator. Thoughts are a very normal part of meditation. Research has shown that forty-seven percent of the time, we are thinking about something other than what we are currently doing. So, we can expect that almost half the time we are meditating, our mind will be wandering. What’s more, we have up to 70 000 thoughts per day. So it’s safe to assume that we will be having some of these thoughts whilst we are meditating.
You are meditating correctly if:
- You are sitting comfortably;
- You allow your attention to settle on the focal point of the meditation (your facilitators voice, your breath, a mantra etc);
- When you realise that you are thinking, you gently guide your attention back to the focal point of the meditation.
The key message here is gently. Since thoughts are part and parcel of meditation, there is no need to get frustrated when you realise that you are thinking. Nor assume that you simply aren’t good at meditation. You just acknowledge that you have thoughts, then gently give preference to the focal point of the meditation. And don’t fall into the trap of being too intently focused on the object of meditation either. This might result in concentrating too hard and ending up with a mild headache. Let go of all control.
When you realise all this, you can then appreciate that meditation isn’t so difficult after all!