Arriving Home :: Meeting The Traffic In Our Mind
As a meditation teacher, one of the most common comments I hear when it comes to people having a hard time with meditation is the feeling of not being able to sit with their thoughts. The mind is on rapid-fire mode or jumping around like a lost monkey, and even after 1 minute of trying to be with this wild thinking experience in meditation - they give up. It’s too much to handle.
Though this moment seems really uncomfortable and intense, it is also glorious. What any seasoned meditator will say when they hear someone describing this experience is, “yes. I have been there. I have definitely been there.” And they give you a look which says, “you are on the brink of something good. Stay with it. Just keep being with it as much as you can.”
The ‘Not So’ Secret
If there was a special secret to meditation, this would be it. There is no way out of meeting the sometimes busy, crazy, absurd, lovely, compassionate, generous traffic of our very own minds. l saw Russel Brand this past weekend talk about his experience with meeting his own essence of mind, and as he put it, “there’s a full-blown maniac up there.” I think to some degree we can all relate to this. That moment when you realize, ‘Did I really just think that? Moi?” So the ‘not so’ secret is: you must learn to be with these experiences of thinking. Whenever you have the urge to pull away or shut down, or get up and do something else to distract yourself - this is the moment you can just simply be.
Seeing Thoughts As Traffic
A helpful technique for learning how to meet intense bouts of thinking is to picture yourself on the side of a highway, sitting quiet, calmly and serenely and watching your thoughts go by just like you would the traffic on the road. As you sit and watch the traffic, sometimes it will be bumper to bumper with loud car horns and lots of noise. And other times the traffic will be lighter. You will see one car go by and then notice a space before the next car going by, and soon, you realize - the more you sit, the less traffic there is all together. The space between cars and vehicles becomes wider.
For other techniques to work with thoughts and befriend your own mind, read this previous ‘Arriving Home’ where you can learn ‘5 Practices To Work With Thoughts During Meditation.’