My last blog post was about Ayurvedic doshas, and how your dosha might affect your meditation.
One of the main questions I am asked about my meditation practice is something along the lines of “but don’t you just sit there and think about all the things you need to do today?” Well yes, I do! I’m primarily a Vata personality.
I’m always on the go, running around, head in the clouds. To sit down and meditate, to concentrate solely on my mantra is not something I found easy to begin with! Meditation is called a practice for a reason!
When I first began to meditate, I had all of the same problems you have. Should I have let the dog out before I started this?… Don’t forget to send that email… Did I pay that bill?… Has it been half an hour yet? These are all thoughts that still do pop into my head from time to time while I’m meditating. The trick, the thing you can learn only with regular practice, is to notice the thought, acknowledge it, and gently pull your mind back to your mantra.
The easiest way I can think of to explain it is that your mind is like an excited little puppy tied to a post in a yard. It doesn’t want to be tied to that post of meditation. It wants to go over there and investigate this; it wants to sniff at that; it wants to do anything but sit here in silence. So it will use whatever distraction techniques it can find to get you to untie it, to stop meditating. How often do you sit down to meditate, and find yourself distracted by an itch on the very tip of your nose, even when your fringe is nowhere near it? That, my friend, is your mind saying “oh look, your nose is itchy, you’d better stop meditating and scratch it!”
But just as eventually you can train a puppy to sit without being tied to a post, your mind will eventually surrender and be quiet. Regardless of how difficult you find it to begin with, you are just as capable of it as me or anyone else.
People tend to have this perception that meditation is sit down – cross legs – repeat mantra – enter transcendental state with no thought, just like that. In reality, meditation is more like sit down – repeat mantra – think about the laundry – repeat mantra – repeat mantra – gap – think about what to cook for dinner – repeat mantra – gap. Over time, you get more gap than thought in your thirty minutes, but it takes time. There is no short cut; you just have to wait it out.
But don’t ever think that your meditation has no worth or purpose if you spend half your time distracted by thoughts. Just the act of sitting still and repeating your mantra has a beneficial effect that only increases with practice.
Have fun, and be patient with yourself.