It's okay to think when you meditate

Last night when I sat down to meditate for my usual 20 minutes, I spent about the first 4 minutes creating a list in my head of all the things I needed to get done for the next day. Then my mind wandered.

I thought of cool melodies, then lyrics for those melodies, then Alicia Keys’ voice singing along to those lyrics...and I’m not even a song writer. Then I thought of ideas for cartoon characters, their super powers and mutant bodies. Welcome to my mind by the way.

Soon after though my mind “dived” into a meditative state. Meditators usually describe this state as blissful. I feel that too. I’m so happy in my meditation because there’s complete peace, even if just for a few moments.

My point is that it’s completely normal to think during meditation. I can’t think of a meditation where I have not gone into a phase of thinking - mostly a few times every session.

There's still the odd day when I don't get to that restful zone at all. And that's okay too. 

Thinking is usually the point of contention for those who are interested in meditating, but feel that they can’t even start. “I can’t get my mind to stop thinking”. That’s okay. In fact, it's great.

When I started meditating I even fell asleep the first few times. You know when you’re completely exhausted and drool on yourself? That was my go-to look.

Now, when I’m a bit tired and know I’m likely going to sleep instead of meditating, I’ll take a 20 minute nap beforehand. Because sleeping and meditating are two very different states of rest.

Back to thinking during meditation...

When I was playing around with Jonni Pollard’s 1 Giant Mind app (Jonni is a meditation teacher and a regular contributor to this blog) I noticed his video pop-up mentions thinking and wandering thoughts. His call on it: “It’s natural for your mind to think during meditation, that’s what the brain does.”

Hearing that - 4 years into practicing meditation - I felt even better about it.

I've eased up on myself as I sometimes would get annoyed with my random thoughts. I now think about what I learnt from day one…just allow them to happen

Then I turn my focus back to  keeping my face relaxed, breathing and, in my personal case, my mantra. Then, helloooo blissful zone.

I still scratch my head and my nose mid way through. I still shuffle around to feel comfortable again. This morning I think I did it about 6 times.

The big emphasis though is that meditation takes regular practice. Two times, 20 mins a day.

Like any practice you pick up in life - it gets better over time.

Some cool, free meditation apps: 1 Giant Mind & Smiling Mind


Written in: My pad in LA, edited at Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Los Angeles

Listening to: General ambient noise and jams at Stumptown


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