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How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners

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Cory Muscara



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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.

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