Our Thoughts are Things

January snow.

January snow.

When I meditate, thoughts rampage my mind.  Incessantly.  Some days it’s a battle quieting them.  The thoughts can be consuming and all-encompassing.  What helps me quiet them is to separate myself from them and see them as things.  Then I give them labels.  Then I let them go.  For example, I’ll begin thinking about what time I’ll finish with my last client, and will I have enough time stop at the store after that before I pick-up Delaney from rehearsal and then get Marleigh to practice…  Thoughts.  These are thoughts.  I picture each one as a balloon, label the balloon as a thought, and watch it drift away.  Then sink into the quiet place.  Until the next thought begins.

I was talking about this with a client today who was having troubling, all-consuming thoughts, worries, and fears during her meditations.  I suggested she look at the thoughts as freight trains.  “Here’s the worry train pulling in to the station.”  Label it, then watch it leave.  Sink back into quietude.  Then notice the next thought train come roaring in.  Label that one too.  And the next.  And the next.  It’s about noticing our thoughts.  Recognizing that they aren’t all that we are.  Seeing them as things that are separate from us.

Sometimes these thoughts are like books being thrown at our heads.  Crashing into our psyche.  Stepping away and looking at each “thought”, recognizing it’s author or genre or subject: “there’s the one about money fears”,  “there’s the one about my ex husband”, “there’s the one my dad wrote” etc.  Noticing these noisy burdensome thoughts, and letting them go.  This takes practice. Lots of it.  But we keep doing it.  With practice, the quiet space between thoughts opens.  Then it grows.  The peaceful place becomes familiar, more easily accessed, bigger, more encompassing.  And things start to shift a little for us.  And it feels good.  And it’s healthy.  And we keep practicing.

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