An Everyday Meditation #2: Thoughts Arise

During our everyday meditation, thoughts arise. These can be the seeds of insight, if only we are aware of them.

Some say thoughts during meditation are impediments. This is true, they can be. Thoughts can arise either with our being aware or not being aware of them. To reconsider things, it is not the thought that is the issue. It is the intention we bring to them.

When thoughts arise without our awareness, they fester and prolong and grow in the deep recesses of our minds, sucking us into their stories. Then we realize, “Oh. I’ve been thinking all this time.”

The duration of the obscuration—and our suffering from it—depends upon when we awaken and become aware. To live in a state of wakefulness is why we meditate, so that we might be awake in all moments of our pedestrian lives, and not just rushing through them.

In meditation, we train our minds to see thoughts as they arise. So we might say, “Oh, that’s a thought.” By calling attention to it, the thought arises and dies, and we gain a glimpse into impermanence.

Exercise

Sit in meditation.

Focus on your breath.

As a thought arises, see it. Say, “That is a thought.” Do not attach. Do not chase its story. See it as you would the scenes passing by your bus window on an early morning commute. Each there and gone in a single instant, so that the essence of each scene is that single instant in which it arises and dies as the bus keeps moving. Nothing more.

Thoughts pop up all throughout our meditations. They can be either obstacles or teachers. By staying awake, we experience their instantaneous-ness. Here and gone. Moments passing, briefly sharing themselves, and then empty.

To receive instructions for 7 Days of Meditation, click here. The meditations are meant to help you build your practice day by day, and are suitable for beginning meditators or for those looking to add to their practice..

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