How not to meditate

There is a common misconception that meditation is control over thoughts and feelings.

According to this misconception, you can choose what thoughts you want to think and what you don’t, what you want to feel and what you don’t. And then make something like an internal revolution, overthrowing the old evil regime of bad thoughts and establishing the power of good and positive.

Of course, we can influence our thoughts and feelings and develop the mind in a healthy positive direction. Otherwise, why do we want to meditate at all? Error in the notion of a separate controlling “I” or ego.

By believing that you can control and choose thoughts and feelings, you reinforce this internal split between thoughts, feelings, and the ego, which seeks to control everything. This trap is best avoided.

Right now, watch your inner screen for two minutes as images and thoughts appear. Just pay attention to the thoughts and images that arise. Does it make sense to say that you choose these thoughts? Not really. It is clear. For the most part, thoughts appear much like the weather. They just appear out of nowhere.

But if you don’t choose those thoughts, then who chooses? The answer is: nobody. No one chooses what thoughts will appear in your mind, but you can also say that the entire universe is involved. This may be too deep an idea to start learning meditation, but try to accept it: every thought is a wave coming out of the ocean of reality, the cause and conditions of which are limitless.

In this particular space-time arrangement, the universe appears as a thought. The ocean is a natural element, as well as our thought process. When you actually see this, it will be a moment of insight that will bring a sense of deep release. But for now, just take it as a hypothesis. The only meaning of “you” choosing thoughts is that you are still part of the universe.

Of course, there are thoughts that are consciously chosen. If someone tells you, think of a pink elephant, you can project the image of a pink elephant on your inner screen. If someone asks you where the light switch is located in your kitchen, you can visualize the layout of your kitchen in your head. If you are writing a book, you are deliberately creating certain images and thoughts in your head.


But all these thoughts do not apply to the practice of meditation. Our field of study is disorderly internal dialogue. These are the thoughts that create all sorts of problems. As a rule, these thoughts are the most upsetting, the most annoying, the most embarrassing, the most accusatory. So it’s actually good news to know that you don’t choose them. They just appear like the weather.

The even better news is that we can develop communication with spontaneous thoughts, minimizing their negative impact on us. At this point, it is important to understand that the problem is not in the thoughts and feelings themselves, but in how you treat them. If you believe that thoughts and feelings determine who you are, then you will be drawn into their game, and thoughts will control you.

Having uncontrolled thoughts is not a problem. The problem begins when we cling to thoughts. Instead of rejecting or clinging to thoughts, imagine that a thought is a train that arrives at the station when you are standing on the platform. The train stops and opens its doors. You have a choice: sit in it or say “no thanks” and just stay on the platform, watching the departing train. The same thing happens with thoughts: you can hang on to a thought, give it importance, or you can just let it go and watch it go.