Non-productive patterns of thought

When we sit and try to quieten the mind, the first thing we usually notice is how many thoughts we have. For those who are beginning meditation this is what strikes first. However, even those who have practiced meditation for some time can still have times when the thinking mind is very busy One way of working with that busyness is to broadly label the  thoughts, thus allowing them pass through and reducing the amount of weight which we give to them. This has the effect of turning down the amount of energy associated with them and creating more space and calm in the mind. In other words, rather than getting caught up, we step out of the stream:

If you label your disruptive thoughts, you will get an idea of your habitual thought patterns. We use one descriptive word such as ‘future,’ ‘past,’ ‘planning’, ‘remembering’, ‘wanting’, ‘rejecting’, ‘resisting’, ‘bored’, ‘disinterest’, ‘nonsense’, ‘fantasy’, ‘dream’. It doesn’t matter which word comes to mind first. Eventually you can see a pattern, for example that you are constantly planning. When you notice your thought patterns in this way, you can see they are non-productive and drop them.

Ayya Khema

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