In this last month we’ve been exploring the different anchors of awareness in mindfulness meditation. Today we’ll be doing the 4th guided meditation in this 5-part series, this time focused on mindfulness of thoughts.
The goal of meditation is always to live in the present moment, regardless of the circumstances in your life. It is an extremely helpful tool when we’re challenged physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I want to clarify this upfront because many people incorrectly believe that meditation is about emptying the mind. They know that their mind never stops and doesn’t see that this is possible. As a result, they don’t even try, or they give up to soon.
With mindfulness of thoughts, we’ll be watching our ideas, thoughts, and fantasies as they enter the mind but then stay unattached as we watch them leave. It is a more advanced practice, so you may want to start with with one of our previous meditations if you are a beginner meditator: Mindfulness of Breath, Body Awareness, or Emotions.
Guided Meditation: Mindfulness of Thoughts Instruction
Meditation Instruction: Using Your Thoughts as an Anchor
Prepare your meditation space so it’s quiet and comfortable. In the video I used the doTERRA InTune essential oil blend on the back of my neck and soles of my feet to help me feel grounded and focus the mind. You can use essential oils or any other tools that will help support your practice.
Come into a seated position on the floor or in a chair. If you’re on the floor, sitting on a cushion will elevate your hips and help your legs relax in the hip joints. Let your hands rest on your knees or thighs. Set a timer for at least 10 minutes and close your eyes.
Take several slow deeps breaths. You may want to make each part of the breath 4-5 seconds in length, making sure the inhalation and exhalation are equal. This is called “sama vrtti”, or equal fluctuation, which slows the mind down, slowing the transitions from thought to thought.
Now let the breath move naturally. Let the mind shift from watching the breath to watching and feeling the body breathing. You can then notice any emotions related to the body and breath. Finally, let your mind rest on thoughts.
This is a profound experience where the mind watches the mind. We are tapping into a higher state of consciousness and awareness.
Notice where the mind is and what thought is in the foreground of your experience. As you notice it, you can name it “thinking”, or “planning”, or “remembering”, or whatever the mind is doing.
While you don’t want to get caught up in the thought, it is interesting to notice if your mind consistently moves in the same direction, caught in the past or in the future.
After the thought is acknowledged, let it go. You may wish to visualize the mind as a wide open sky and you can place the thought in a cloud to let it float on by.
It is inevitable that you’ll find yourself caught up in your thoughts. When this happens, simply focus your mind on the breath, then the body, then on your feelings, and back to the mind watching the mind.
Eventually, you’ll experience less time managing your thoughts and more time in the sweet spaces in between.
When you’re ready to end your meditation, do so gradually by opening up all the senses except for your sight. Find a balance of internal and external awareness. Then open your eyes.
How did it feel to focus on thoughts during your meditation? Did you notice a pattern in your mental habits? How are you feeling now? Please let me know in the comments!
Committing to meditation for just 10 minutes a day is such a simple, yet huge endeavor that can bring more peace into your life.
Please share this meditation with a friend, since there are many who can use this support now! Thank you & well wishes to you…