Do you sit to practice but your mind refuses to sit still with you? Maybe you get frustrated that you can't quiet your mind to meditate or worry that you aren’t doing it properly as your mind keeps wandering away.
A wandering mind is normal
I assure you this is very normal. This is what minds do. Some minds may do it less than others and sometimes there may be a little more stillness and space between thoughts but all minds wander.
Mind wandering is not a problem. It is only becomes a problem if we think it is.
It is helpful to remember that the aim of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation practice isn’t to empty our minds or stop thinking. It is simply about being here now. Being present and available to meet our experience as it arises in each moment. And it is here, in this moment, that we may find the peace we might be seeking.
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
- The Guest House, Jelaluddin Rumi
Distractions are the equipment
We need our minds to wander to provide the practice; to show us when we are not attending to the present. When we are doing rather than being. If thoughts didn’t appear we would not have anything to practice with, if sensations didn’t arise we wouldn’t be distracted.
If we are developing our attention muscle, we need something to build it with. Thoughts and other distractions are our equipment.
In that second when you realise you are distracted, you return to the present. The more times it happens, the more times you get to practice - lucky you.
Bring it on
So allow the thoughts and distractions to come, acknowledge them when they arise and then re-attend to the object of your practice whether that be breath, bodily sensations, movement, sounds etc.
What else can we do when they are going to come anyways?
Being open to whatever arises in our practice teaches us to allow things to be as they are, to let go of expectations and to suspend judgement.