The biggest hindrance to our meditation is constant intrusive thoughts. This is normal for everyone and from the beginning you should expect it. The nature of our mind is to think, and it is childish to imagine that we can simply turn that process off when we wish to. Our minds have been almost completely out of control for most of our life. Recognizing this can help us to be practical and patient—it may take us some time and a lot of skillful practice to tame the crazy “monkey mind.” My own meditation practice was helped when I came across the instruction that while I have thoughts I am not those thoughts. When you stop to examine your thoughts you start to see that they have a life of their own, they come and go, generally in a random, idiosyncratic way.
From Meditation in Plain English, © 2005 Bob Sharples. Reprinted by arrangement with Wisdom Publications, www.wisdompubs.org.
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.