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What Are You Supposed To Think About When You Meditate?

Discovering the Zen Within: Navigating the Tranquil Waters of Meditation

Ever felt like you’re trying to paddle a canoe upstream in the bustling river of your own thoughts? Welcome to the club. The pursuit of calm and clarity in our fast-paced world often leads us to the age-old practice of meditation. However, once we’ve settled into what we hope will be our zen zone, a bewildering question pops up: What on earth are we supposed to think about while meditating?

The Paradox of Thought in Meditation

The irony of meditation lies in the notion that the more you try not to think about anything, the more your mind races from one thought to another. It’s like trying to smooth out the waves in a pond – every attempt just creates more ripples. So, let’s clear the air. Meditation isn’t about wrestling your thoughts to the ground or achieving a thoughtless state akin to a switched-off television. Rather, it’s about observing the marathon of thoughts without buying a ticket to the race.

  1. Breathing Not Thinking: At its core, meditation often starts with focusing on your breath. It’s all about inhaling the good vibes and exhaling the mind clutter. This focus on breath serves as an anchor, preventing your mind from setting sail on the tumultuous seas of thought.

  2. The Art of Noticing: Ever noticed how a dog watches the world during a walk? Be that dog. Observe your thoughts as they come and go without getting emotionally invested in them. It’s the practice of being a spectator, not a player in the game of thoughts.

  3. Mindfulness vs. Empty-Mind-ness: While some forms of meditation strive for a clear mind, most embark on the journey of mindfulness. This means being fully present and attentive to the now – acknowledging thoughts and sensations without judgment.

  4. The Mantra Magic: Mantras aren’t just for the yogis and the spiritual gurus. Repeating a mantra, whether it’s a single word like “peace” or a phrase like “I am calm,” can be a powerful tool to refocus the mind away from the NASCAR race of thoughts.

  5. Visualization & Gratitude: Imagine your mind as a serene lake or contemplate what you’re grateful for. These visual or thankful diversions are like gentle paddles steering the canoe, subtly guiding you back to a state of peacefulness.

Embracing the Journey Over the Destination

In the quest for a zen-like state, it’s crucial to remember that meditation is more about the journey than the destination. Sure, the goal might be to achieve a mind as calm as a glassy lake at dawn, but it’s the act of returning to your breath or mantra, time and again, that truly embodies the practice of meditation. It’s about cultivating patience, self-compassion, and an understanding that your mind is a dynamic landscape, ever-changing and beautifully complex.

So, next time you sit down, cushioned by the silence and perhaps battling the urge to draft your grocery list in your head, remember that meditation is not about what you’re supposed to think about. Rather, it’s about mastering the gentle art of returning your focus to something as simple, yet profound, as your breath. In that space, between breaths and thoughts, lies the tranquil heart of meditation. Stepping into that space, even just for a moment, is where the magic truly begins.