Meditation is a practice of untangling yourself from your thoughts. Thoughts, as it turns out, happen to be tyrants. Like little children who demand your attention when you’re trying to accomplish a tiny task, they will relentlessly demand your attention. Thoughts sabotage you away from the present. Staying in the present moment is the antidote to worry and anxiety.
As soon as I sit down to meditate, the thought cascade begins: Lori, you idiot, you forgot to pick up the fill in the blank that you promised to pick up yesterday. Not just that, the stack of documents on your desk is higher than ever and there’s one really important insurance form that reminds me of the unreturned call to the doctor, the client, and what about your mother?
Meditation is the deliberate act of channeling these thoughts down to a trickle. The thoughts do not stop. In fact, it seems as if there are more and bigger thoughts when I sit down to meditate than I have when I’m deliberately going about my day. This is probably not at all true. The thoughts just seem bigger and more frequent because I have stopped and am trying to let the thoughts float on by. When I meditate, I still have thoughts, but I am not attached to these thoughts. Every once in a while an important thought floats by and then I promise myself I’ll come back to it later. Then, I keep my promise.