Mental Chatter and Meditation
Thoughts are the biggest distraction in meditation - this statement can never be overemphasized. A meditator has to learn to continue his regular practice despite the mental chatter. Success in meditation depends on how skillful you are in dealing with thoughts. Many people quit meditation annoyed by the ever lurking uninvited mental talk. If you are interested to know more, take a look at Self Improvement Blog.
The funny thing is that even if you are resting physically the mind ds not stop or suspend its work. It is always spinning and rolling in thoughts. The moments when mind is not hopping thoughts are extremely rare and hence, we find them unusual. Researchers tell us that we think over 50,000 thoughts every day - an astronomical figure by any measure. Needless to say the most of it is useless and irrelevant. If every thought consumes some energy, the amount of energy wasted daily is considerable. Regular meditators have relatively lesser number of thoughts crossing their mind and thus, they conserve a lot of energy.
Highly evolved yogis have considerable control on what enters their mind and can suspend their thinking process for considerable length of time. No wonder their dietary requirements are minimal. Of course, this is just the physical benefit; the larger advantages are mental and emotional which are the real reasons why people want to meditate.
You can't Escape Intrusive Thoughts
Thinking is what the mind ds all the time. It ds not know how to -not think-. This is a reality you have to accept; you can't wish it away. It is useless to dislike this glaring reality.
Not all mental chatter is aimless; the mental activities of daily living also make their presence felt whenever you sit for meditation. For instance, you are suddenly thinking -I must not forget that I have to call Sam at three.- Or -Oh s---, I did not check mail.- Very often when such task related thoughts appear one after another, you abruptly conclude that you have a lot of work to do and must suspend meditation immediately so that you can take care of these activities. This is how most people give us regular meditation much sooner than they ever wanted to.
The remedy lies in not identifying with the mental activities.
You are the witness, to whom things happen but who remains a witness. Witnessing is the art of non-identification. Non-identification is all there is to meditation. It is the whole meditation. - Osho
The only way to tackle this problem is to train to ignore them for the hour of meditation. What you can do is to try not to encourage or fuel the thinking process. And how would you do that? You will do it in the same manner as you do walking on a busy street - you ignore people walking around you (after being careful not to bump into them!). You deal with thoughts the same way you deal with some mad man talking - you ignore whatever he says. You know the consequences if you get involved in conversation with him.
Another way to relate to such thoughts is to see them as -teasers-; the moment you respond to such teasers, your brain offers you further related thoughts. You'll get mental images of Sam, phone, computer, browser, and so on. If you respond to any thought, it will only lead to more thoughts.
When you do not respond to a teaser thought and continue to focus on the meditation object, say respiration, your brain will let go of that teaser and try something else. You carry on with the practice and the teasers will become less and less frequent. That is meditation in a nutshell - non-identification and increasing the space between thoughts.
Therefore, stay put for the whole meditation hour and face the mental chatter without identification. Another thing that greatly helps is to always keep at the back of your mind that you will try to live in the present moment during meditation hour. When you have the -mental presence- or mindfulness it also discourages the usual mental talk. Learning mindfulness is extremely helpful for any meditator. For more info, visit Self Improvement Blog.