“Breathe and let be.”― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are
I had been experiencing some negative feelings towards meditation. Not to the concept of meditation, just to practicing. Feelings of avoidance. Frustrated feelings.
Practice felt like a chore. I realized that I’d lost sight of the goal.
When I noticed my mind wandering, I pushed back from the thought strongly, as if I could throw it from my mind. I snapped back to my breath, trying to focus through force of will.
I had fallen into a common trap, the idea (whether conscious or not) that thoughts are the enemy of mindfulness. That they should be rejected or tamed. That I was failing in my practice by having thoughts.
Of course, mindfulness is about none of that. It’s about observing the mind, not scolding it. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits goes so far as to say that we should “welcome” thoughts and emotions during our practice with an open curiosity. Your mind wandered to a thought or emotion? Notice it. Be curious of how it feels with welcoming hospitality. Then let it go, and return to your breath.
When I stopped rejecting and started observing, I became comfortable with practice again.
Also published on Medium.