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The Goal of Meditation

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, welcome back to your Daily Mindfulness. In today's session, we're going to talk about one of the goals of meditation in relationship to working with thoughts. So I'm going to share a quote with you. It's anonymous and it says, "The goal of meditation is not to control your thoughts, but to stop letting them control you." The goal of meditation is not to control your thoughts, but to stop letting them control you. So notice how that lands for you.

I would add some nuance to this because I do think one of the things we are doing in meditation is developing a sense of agency and influence over our thinking mind. We're practicing being aware of the thoughts as they arise. And learning to redirect our attention back to the breath or some object of focus. And you could argue that that is a form of learning to control your thoughts, thoughts, and work with them more skillfully. But as it relates to the deeper freedom we can access in meditation, the deeper internal peace, yes.

That is a different game where it's not about controlling the thoughts, but really developing a relationship with our thoughts where they no longer have the same control over us. So how do we do that? Because much of the time when we sit down and we practice, there is this sense that especially in the beginning of a meditation practice,, that our thoughts are creating stress for us. And the, the peace that we tend to find, or think that we're working toward is contingent upon the absence of thoughts or by focusing really strongly, and then when the mind is centered, then we have that's a peace. But if you also notice that there might be times in your practice where the mind can be thinking, going off in whatever sorts of thoughts, positive or negative, but there's also a sense of ease and grounded-ness in your body. It's almost as if the thoughts are happening in the background, like radio noise, where they're there, but they don't have the same emotional charge to them.

That's one of the things we're working toward in meditation, and we could argue is one of the primary goals of meditation. Where the thinking mind can exist because it's always going to exist. As long as we're human, we're going to have thoughts. And while it might be useful to learn to redirect our attention, if we're always creating a sense of stress or getting activated by those thoughts when they're there, then we're still in a sense enslaved to the thinking mind. However, in our meditation practice, we can practice dropping into those spaces where we allow thoughts to be there and just watch them coming and going.

And one of the ways I like to do this is to notice when I'm tensing around my thinking mind, when I find myself going, oh, I don't like this right now. I'm frustrated by this thought or really trying to rip my attention back to whatever it is I'm focusing on. In those moments, those are really the opportunities to look at how your relationship to your thoughts is still one of trying to control them and making your peace contingent upon controlling them. That's an opportunity to soften. Relax the tension in your body and just go, it's just a thought, it's just a thought.

You might have to do that a hundred times, a thousand times, 10,000 times over the course of years, but eventually what will happen, it won't take years. You will develop a from relationship to thoughts and instead of them controlling you, you all have a more, a sense of inner freedom and inner peace that allows them to be there without the same emotional activation. So again, the goal of meditation is not to control your thoughts, but to stop letting them control you. Take that into your day and your practice. Thank you for your practice and let's settle in for today's meditation.

Cory Muscara

4.8

The Goal of Meditation

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, welcome back to your Daily Mindfulness. In today's session, we're going to talk about one of the goals of meditation in relationship to working with thoughts. So I'm going to share a quote with you. It's anonymous and it says, "The goal of meditation is not to control your thoughts, but to stop letting them control you." The goal of meditation is not to control your thoughts, but to stop letting them control you. So notice how that lands for you.

I would add some nuance to this because I do think one of the things we are doing in meditation is developing a sense of agency and influence over our thinking mind. We're practicing being aware of the thoughts as they arise. And learning to redirect our attention back to the breath or some object of focus. And you could argue that that is a form of learning to control your thoughts, thoughts, and work with them more skillfully. But as it relates to the deeper freedom we can access in meditation, the deeper internal peace, yes.

That is a different game where it's not about controlling the thoughts, but really developing a relationship with our thoughts where they no longer have the same control over us. So how do we do that? Because much of the time when we sit down and we practice, there is this sense that especially in the beginning of a meditation practice,, that our thoughts are creating stress for us. And the, the peace that we tend to find, or think that we're working toward is contingent upon the absence of thoughts or by focusing really strongly, and then when the mind is centered, then we have that's a peace. But if you also notice that there might be times in your practice where the mind can be thinking, going off in whatever sorts of thoughts, positive or negative, but there's also a sense of ease and grounded-ness in your body. It's almost as if the thoughts are happening in the background, like radio noise, where they're there, but they don't have the same emotional charge to them.

That's one of the things we're working toward in meditation, and we could argue is one of the primary goals of meditation. Where the thinking mind can exist because it's always going to exist. As long as we're human, we're going to have thoughts. And while it might be useful to learn to redirect our attention, if we're always creating a sense of stress or getting activated by those thoughts when they're there, then we're still in a sense enslaved to the thinking mind. However, in our meditation practice, we can practice dropping into those spaces where we allow thoughts to be there and just watch them coming and going.

And one of the ways I like to do this is to notice when I'm tensing around my thinking mind, when I find myself going, oh, I don't like this right now. I'm frustrated by this thought or really trying to rip my attention back to whatever it is I'm focusing on. In those moments, those are really the opportunities to look at how your relationship to your thoughts is still one of trying to control them and making your peace contingent upon controlling them. That's an opportunity to soften. Relax the tension in your body and just go, it's just a thought, it's just a thought.

You might have to do that a hundred times, a thousand times, 10,000 times over the course of years, but eventually what will happen, it won't take years. You will develop a from relationship to thoughts and instead of them controlling you, you all have a more, a sense of inner freedom and inner peace that allows them to be there without the same emotional activation. So again, the goal of meditation is not to control your thoughts, but to stop letting them control you. Take that into your day and your practice. Thank you for your practice and let's settle in for today's meditation.

Cory Muscara

4.8

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