COUNTING YOUR THOUGHTS
October 11, 2010 by ravenstarshealingroom
I think there is no word that strikes fear into our hearts more than meditation. Many of us say we simply can’t do it. We say we can’t because our minds constantly wander and it’s impossible to concentrate. A person once said to me “No matter how hard I try, my mind keeps wandering off. I can’t keep my mind on the exercise I’m supposed to do. I guess it’s just not for me”.
Intruding thoughts happen to us all. When we relax, our mind waits for such a chance to bring to attention certain things we need to do or should of done throughout the course of our busy day. Did you pay the rent today? Will the fight you had with your partner still linger? Should you change jobs? Did you call the insurance company, make that appointment with your doctor? Why did (name) say those things to you? And on and on and on.
Meditation is about stilling your energy. It doesn’t mean stopping your thoughts. Your thoughts will never stop….they are constant, like a noisy free-flowing river.
And these flow of thoughts and feelings also reflect the flow of your life. What fears and desires are you hanging onto that are stopping you from surrendering to the flow?
This simple meditation will help you to increase your self-awareness and power of concentration. First you will increase your control over your thoughts by observing and counting them rather than trying to dominate.
It’s really simple. For about 10 minutes, count your thoughts. Let your mind be like a screen that you are going to watch. You may have thoughts, visuals, feelings and sensations associated with them. You are very alert! You won’t let anything sneak by unnoticed. You are so absorbed in counting that you don’t need to worry what these thoughts are about. Bad or good, very weak and subtle, or very strong, rushing and overwhelming….you just count.
If you stop for a moment and wonder ‘why am I doing this’ don’t worry about it…just count it and wait for the next thought to come. If you lost count, no problem, just pick up where you might of left off.
You could pretend you are a traffic controller, observing the unstoppable flow of vehicles (thoughts and feelings) on a busy street. You’ll notice some vehicles are trucks, some are cars, some are bicycles. You don’t judge, you just count. The trucks you notice are loud), the bikes don’t make a sound. You don’t care, you just watch and notice that the traffic (thoughts) seems to come in spurts…..for a moment there is nothing and then a whole long line of them. This is an example of how our thoughts and feelings can sneak up on us….some will even try to grab us. Just stay calm, observe and count them….all you are right now is an observer of this mind traffic. All you want is an accurate count.
You may notice some cars look new and flashy; others are old clunkers that shouldn’t be on the road. These could represent angry thoughts, guilty feelings, or even the future. That’s no concern of yours….you’re just observing and counting them.
A passing cyclist might stop to talk or a car might ask you for directions. For a moment you’re distracted from observing and counting. When you notice this distraction, just way goodbye and pick up where you believe you left off.
Do this exercise for about 10 minutes.
How many thoughts did you count, 25, 50, or even a 100? Did you see these thoughts in pictures or hear them with words? Did you notice some of the same thoughts kept circling round and round, or were repetitious?
Hopefully this exercise will help you to realize you are not these thoughts and feelings. Your undivided attention gave you power over them. They couldn’t sweep you away, even when they (the cyclist) temporarily caught up with you, you returned to just observing them. These needs, angers, desires, delights, guilt’s, don’t own you. You own them and you can easily learn to watch them with interest and let them go.
On a deeper note, you may have noticed the different vibrations that made up each thought, feeling and sensation. You also may notice certain thoughts that controlled you before, now have absolutely no power over you. They are empty. This nothingness (nirvana) is the heart of Buddhism, which frees you to live each moment without grasping it or holding on to it for dear life.
“Nothing is worth grasping because nothing lasts. So as much as we grasp and hold the body and sense, the feeling, the memory, ideas, reactions, and observations, so much do we take a separate “self” and so much do we suffer through these attachments”. Hina Tvana Dhammalora