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Random thoughts during meditation - what to do with those?

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  • Random thoughts during meditation - what to do with those?

    Dear Ajahn,

    I started meditation on a regular basis a couple of weeks ago, and it's already starting to have a positive effect on my life. However, I tend to have a lot of random thoughts entering my mind while meditating and I know that's quite common for beginner meditators. my question is: how should I respond to those thoughts?

    Should I ignore those thoughts, gently push it away, and direct my attention immediately back to the present moment? Or should I investigate those thoughts - observe their arising, investigate where they come from, and then let it go?

    If I choose the latter path, I can't concentrate on the present moment since time is needed to investigate those thoughts and I would have lost awareness of my breath during those moments of investigation. But if I choose the former path, I will still be clueless about why/how such thoughts come about...and I thought that wouldn't be consistent with Buddhism as an investigative/experiential religion. Appreciate your guidance.

    With Metta,
    Jerry

  • #2
    Dear Jerry,

    Should I ignore those thoughts, gently push it away, and direct my attention immediately back to the present moment? Or should I investigate those thoughts - observe their arising, investigate where they come from, and then let it go?
    I would say, neither! Don't push the thoughts away, because it is the pushing that creates the thoughts in the first place. You literally will the thoughts into existence. Instead, be a passive observer. If you really can watch the thoughts without involvement, they will soon stop by themselves. Why? Because you are not feeding them. This is how you learn how to be passively mindful, and this one of the basic abilities you need to develop for meditation to really take off.

    The investigation of the thinking is best done after the meditation. Once the meditation has come to a natural end, your mind will have the clarity to understand the process you have been through. Take a few minutes to reflect on your experience. You will then gradually start to understand the thinking process. What you will see is that you drive it. And you will understand that passive observance is the way to overcome thinking.

    With metta.

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    • #3
      Thanks for your advice - I will try it out

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