4 Common Thoughts that Stifle Meditative Freedom

4 common thoughts that stifle meditative bliss

Your mind is always busy. You really notice just how busy it is when you finally sit down to meditate. Those racing thoughts are perfectly normal. In fact, Eastern teachings liken the mind to a monkey that has been bitten by a scorpion jumping from tree to tree. It won’t stop no matter how much you try to make it. The good news, though, is that in order to meditate, you don’t have to. That’s the secret. There are usually four different types of mental agitation, and the way to slow the discourse of your incessant thoughts is simply by observing them without judgment.

What All Forms of Meditation Have in Common

There are many types of meditation. You can utilize methods from around the globe, steeped in the traditions of many cultures. From prayerful meditation, to insight, to meditation, and even concentration on a Zen koans, there is one thing all of these tools have in common – they will cause you to become aware of just how you think.

We are constantly trying to name our experience. We quantify it, ruminate upon it, and then re-hash it, yet again. This is human nature. So, what do you do to calm this rushing tide of thinking when all you want to do is achieve a state of blissfulNirvana already?

4 Types of Thoughts that Arise During Meditation

The first step is to identify the types of thoughts that will arise when we meditate, and know from whence they come psychologically, so that we can just acknowledge them and dismiss them – allow them to pass over like clouds over our head. We see them, we are aware that they are there, but we give ourselves permission not to get caught up in them.

  1. Painful Memories
  2. Worrying About the Future
  3. Background Noise
  4. Thoughts About Present Commitments

The easiest type of thought to calm concerns the last type – the thoughts about our commitments. Most of us are over-scheduled and over-committed in our lives, so it is no wonder that we are always thinking about what we have to do next, and for whom. One of the easiest ways to lessen these types of thoughts in our meditations is to simply let go of some of those commitments. We all want to be productive and contribute to society and our families, but ask yourself how many of those commitments are really necessary. Then get rid of the ones that are not vital to your well-being.

Background noise refers to the sounds we use to try to calm our minds, but that usually do the opposite. This means the noise on the radio when you are driving home from work or the television that you turn on the minute you walk in the door. This is the second easiest type of meditative noise to quiet. Many esoteric teachings ask meditation students to go into caves or other quiet spaces, simply because it lessens background noise that might interfere with achieving higher states of consciousness. The sounds of nature, for example, are proven to be much more soothing and calming than those created by man. If you can’t turn off the background noise because you live in a busy city, or your office pipes in talk radio nine hours a day, consider walking in nature or using noise-cancelling ear phones for your next meditative journey.

Thoughts about painful experiences from our past and worry about the future tend to be the most difficult thoughts to calm. They often persist in meditative sessions, and sometimes even get worse before they get better, but with diligence they do subside, and even disappear, making your mind calmer in the process. Trauma experienced in childhood, or even from another lifetime, often creates very deep grooves in our minds. We tend to think of the pain we experienced again and again, making it difficult to let go. This is why the practice of forgiveness is so important for achieving higher states of consciousness.

Even Gandhi said that it takes a strong person to forgive. This is one of the highest forms of love. The sense of peace and happiness that you get in return for forgiving someone who has wronged you is profound. It also cleans the mind, allowing peace and, yes, even bliss to be a more attainable experience.

What if You Still Haven’t Experienced Meditative Bliss?

When we are thinking, we are still in our rational mind – the conscious plane. When we dream, we are a bit closer to a meditative state, as we enter the subconscious mind. Sometimes we can finally enter the blissful experience of the super-consciousness, as our thoughts dissolve and become centered on the energy that courses up the spine. Not everyone encounters this experience – not the first time they meditate, and sometimes not after meditating for years. We shouldn’t become frustrated, though. Rest assured that with practice, you are getting closer to tuning your consciousness to a finer melody.

Paramahansa Yogananda has some great advice for those of us expecting certain outcomes from our meditative practice, but who have yet to experience them. He states:

Do not be anxious if you don’t have meditative experiences. The path to God is not a circus! Don’t even be anxious about such fruits of meditation as inner joy and peace. Everything will come in God’s time. Meanwhile, consider meditation, too, as a form of karma yoga: action without desire for the fruits of action. Meditate above all to please God, not yourself.”

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