Roving Mind Got the Best of You? Here's the antidote.
Whether you're a first-time or seasoned meditator, chances are high-about 100%- that when you start to meditate, you will be subject to what appears to be an actual, incessant, and absolutely uncontrollable stream of thought. In the Zen meditation tradition, this is called "watching the waterfall"-that perpetual Niagara gushing out of your mind.
Most beginning meditators believe that meditation itself is responsible for their cascades of thinking. But the truth is exactly the opposite: Your personal Niagara Falls is, and always has, been there. It's just that you've been too busy drowning under it to notice it!
The practice of meditation affords you the amazing opportunity to not only keep your head above water, but safe and dry.
First off, don't start feeling badly about Roving Mind. Your mind is a perpetual thought machine whose sole job is to think. It's a loyal, indefatigable worker who will never let you down. And, by the way, you have no say in the matter.
So, if we can't stop or suppress our thinking, how do we deal with it so we can live in peace and calm? This is where meditation comes to the rescue with a simple, elegant, and powerful solution: Don't suppress thinking. Surpass it.
How in the world, you say, can I do this? Well, you can start by remembering our new definition of meditation, and "allowing what is." And how do you do that? By doing The Meditation Three-Step:
Step 1: Recognize that you are thinking.
Step 2: Gently return to meditation.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed. (this will be a lot!)
Meditation is the art of gently returning-over and over again. And again. This is why we call it meditation practice.