My mind is too busy to meditate! It won't calm down!!
A busy mind can be disheartening, particularly in the beginning of our practice, because we assume that meditation is supposed to be a perpetual state of calm bliss. It is something that most of us experience and one of the first areas of awakening--"Wow! My mind is busy!"
Then, we think, if our mind isn't calm, there must be something wrong with us. What about all the yogis and enlightened gurus who are in perpetual bliss? While there will be moments of enjoyable open, quiet and spacious mind, we will also experience periods of busy mind, This is human nature and the nature of the mind.
Mindfulness practice is not about quieting the mind, per se, though there is a tendency for that to happen as a result of our practice, but rather about being with the mind in a moment-by-moment engagement through all of it's differing states. When we undertake the practice of investigation and exploration of our body-mind experience through mindfulness, we sign up to see the true nature of mind. That nature is to think. Just as the eyes see, the ears hear, and the nose smells, our mind thinks. And it's a great tool!
Sometimes our thoughts are joyful and kind, other times they are harsh and unforgiving. We can consciously create thoughts that bring a sense of joy and well-being in our body--in fact the practice of loving kindness is this conscious creation. It is very important to pay attention to what we feed into our minds, because our well being is affected--just as our bodies are with the food we eat.
Accepting and allowing the mind as it is is one of the keys to mindfulness practice, as resistance to what is the very root of suffering. One sense of freedom that develops from mindfulness is from not being bound by the thoughts that arise in this mind of ours. It is also to stop the war in our minds. To stop the war with ourselves. If we are busy wanting the contents of our mind to be different, we are at war.
My experience has shown that in this war, the mind will always win. Equally, if I let go of my judgement about what the mind is or isn't doing, I am more likely free to decide whether I want to believe the mind and whether I want to act upon what the mind is thinking. Read this again. There is a powerful freedom in that sentence.
If I let go of my judgement about what the mind is or isn't doing, I am more likely to be free to decide whether I want to believe the mind and whether I want to act upon what the mind is thinking. There is choice.
Each moment that my mind wanders from this present moment is not the concern. The concern is that when I notice my mind has wandered, I come back to this moment, this experience, free of judgement and concern about what just happened. This moment doesn't care--it just is here for us to experience. It is forgiving in that way--eternally forgiving.