I can’t meditate. I think too much

How do you picture yourself as a meditating person? Do you see yourself as peaceful? Happy? Untroubled by annoying thoughts? A blank slate? Or do you see yourself as a person with an anxious, busy mind, with a tense body, or beset by emotional storms?

It is likely that your expectation of yourself as a meditator will influence your decision to try meditation. Here is what teacher/author Jason Siff has to say about such expectations in “unlearning meditation: what to do when the instructions get in the way“:

“I encounter many people who, once they hear that I am a meditation teacher, tell me that they can’t meditate because they think too much. Some of them are professors, scientists, and psychologists, who use their thinking in their work and have developed as human beings through using their minds. Because they have gotten a picture of meditation as requiring a quiet, thought-free mind, they feel they can’t do it. Recollective Awareness is an approach to meditation that not only doesn’t prohibit thinking, but teaches a way of looking into your thoughts so that you can learn things about the thinking process itself. By taking this approach, paradoxically, many people find that their thinking minds actually quiet down, and they find themselves more able to focus on the physical and emotional sides of their experiences.

Here is a link to Jason Siff’s basic meditation instructions. Never mind what you think will happen or is supposed to happen. Take 3 minutes and try it.