Meditation is easier said than done. Our minds are filled with a constant chatter and chaos of thoughts and it is a huge effort to be able to concentrate.
If you have tried meditating, you’ll agree that our minds wander without notice.
If you have a child at home, or if you have at least observed a child, you will know how persistent they can get. If they get hung on something, they will keep pestering you at all times of the day- till you get it for them. If they want your attention, they will do anything to get your attention. If you resist them, they will get more energetic. They will cry, jump about, even roll on the floor, or keep repeating the same things over and over again, till you stop resisting them and decide to give in.
Well, our mind is no different!
Don’t resist your thoughts.
If you resist your thoughts, they tend to persist – much like a persistent child. Don’t shoo them away. Instead, develop the art of listening to your mind. Listen to what the mind keeps chattering about all the time. Give it a patient hearing. Listening helps to not just have clarity in your thoughts but also to lets you plan what should be done about it. If you just keep pushing the thoughts out of the mind, they keep coming back with renewed vigour and continue to occupy your mind space.
Jot it down.
Writing helps. Keep a journal or diary at hand. Every time a thought comes to mind, write it down. Most of the time it is not the thought that is the problem but is often rooted in something else. Once you write it down, you will know what caused the thought in the first place and how you can get to the root of the problem. Sounds cumbersome? It is. But it helps.
When you are in the middle of an activity, say, eating, and your mind wanders to something else, say, you are thinking, I haven’t called mom in such a long time. Before that thought can lead you to a train of related and unrelated thoughts, write it down. Call mom. And then get back to being aware of the present. Enjoy the food on your plate. Smell it, taste it, applaud your cooking skills. Come back to your diary after your meal time and complete the activity. Call your mom.
Usually, pending work or unfinished things tend to accumulate in your mind as thoughts and they attach themselves to other similar thoughts and form a chain of thoughts.
Once the habit of writing gains momentum and you are able to segregate and attend to your thoughts, slowly practice writing the diary mentally. That will eliminate the need to write everything on paper. Open a page of the journal mentally, and scribble on it. Don’t forget to get back to your present activity. Come back to the written thought after your present activity is over and complete it, or if it is not possible immediately, let the note remain for some more time till you can get back to it.
Again, this is not a one-time exercise. Rather, it is an ongoing one. But over a period of time, the mind learns not to overburden itself. It learns how to respond to trains of thoughts. By not suppressing your thoughts, you teach your mind that it will be heard and you train it to wait for its turn. Now, how’s that for a thought?