A client asked me how to stop the mind chatter when meditating.
I remember asking this question myself when I started meditating.
After multiple attempts at quieting it, I started thinking I can’t meditate;
I’m failing because I can’t get my mind to shut up or be still.
My teachers didn’t explain to me how mediation works with the mind.
Through my practice and teaching beginners I find it important to share this information, simply.
Here is my answer to her:
The mind chatter (called “monkey mind” by the Buddhist)
is natural. The mind never quiets…its job is to be busy.
Your job is not to put your attention on random thoughts.
(You are not your thoughts)
The more you are in the now, the less you are aware of thoughts that don’t matter at the moment.
It is like watching clouds (thoughts) in the sky (your mind) and not fixating on any of them.
Just let them float by.
To do this you give your mind something to focus on so the rest of you can relax and be in the moment.
Here is one way to start building that muscle:
Light a candle and put it in a place where you can sit up straight & be comfortable with the candle in front of you.
Every day watch the flame for 2 minutes and every time your mind drifts from watching the flame,
just notice “I’m thinking” and return your attention back to the flame.
Everyday for 2 minutes is important for building that muscle for managing your mind.
Better than long periods sporadically.
When you can do 2 minutes go to 5 minutes.
And if you feel like doing it longer one day or more often…please enjoy.
Every meditation is different.
One day it may feel easy and another you will not be able to stop the fixation of your mind at the moment.
That is ok. Try it again later in the day and see the difference.
Sometimes I would find myself decorating rooms of my house in my meditations and I couldn’t stop…
so I enjoyed my imagination and didn’t beat myself up.
If you don’t want to use a candle, you can play with sound, or using your breath,
a crystal, a flower or your foot steps walking in nature.
It is a daily practice well worth pursuing.
Be gentle with yourself.
I hope this helps!