Look at Where Thoughts Arise

When we begin to meditate, even in the midst of all the confusion (which means scattered thoughts), we should focus our attention on the breath or a mantra. Beginners can practice mindful breathing or chanting mantras to bring your mind back. If you can mindfully observe, you can focus your attention on where the thoughts arise, and look at it. This is an advanced method.

In the ancient meditation instructions, it is said that at the beginning, thoughts will arise one after another. Thoughts are the source of mental distractions. Thoughts are not yet the actual thinking itself. Actual thinking is mental distractions. The arising of a thought is like a mouse popping its head out of a mouse hole. We need to watch at the entrance like a cat. As soon as the mouse’s head appears, you catch it.

When you begin to meditate, your awareness should be like a cat watching a mouse hole. Once a mouse’s head appears, you catch it. In the beginning, there can be an overwhelming amount of scattered and rapid thoughts, surging like tides. Moreover, in the beginning, the mindfulness is not strong enough and the awareness is slow, which can lead to a feeling of exhaustion. Some people may even feel frustrated and chaotic.

Thoughts constantly arise one after another, uninterrupted, like a steep mountain waterfall flowing rapidly. At that point, you can only take your time. Being impatient won’t help. Gradually, as you perfect meditation, thoughts become like the water in a deep, narrow gorge. They slow down, no longer like a waterfall, but are still pretty fast. Gradually, thoughts flow even slower, like a great river slowly winding its way down to the sea. Finally the mind becomes like a still and placid ocean, which means the water has returned to the ocean. The ocean is ruffled by only the occasional ripple or wave. Of course, the intensity of the waves vary from person to person.

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