When you begin to practice meditation, it’s not only OK to experience these thoughts—it’s normal! This post is perfect for you if you’re a beginner meditator who has trouble dealing with an inner monologue, which is most of us.
Here Are The Types of Common Intrusive Thoughts You’ll Experience as a New Meditator
As you begin to practice meditation, you’ll desire to quiet your mind. This may seem an impossible feat! The more you try to quiet your mind, the more you’ll notice it’s not quiet at all.
What do you do when this happens?
- Don’t judge yourself: it’s normal to think thoughts. You’re simply becoming aware of the thoughts you think, how many there are—and just maybe—how absurd some of your thoughts are.
- Don’t fight your thoughts. Become aware of the thoughts and observe them instead.
- Keep pen & paper nearby. If this helps, do it. I did this when I first started meditating, and it helped because some thoughts actually needed to be acted on. Write down the to-do list items that are important or that thing you need to buy at the grocery store, if it helps. Let the rest go.
The types of thoughts I had as a beginning meditator
I recently found my meditation journal from when I began practicing meditation in 2015. I used it to record the thoughts that came up as I tried to quiet my mind. This is evidence of how much my thoughts drove me nuts! It also shows how attached I was to my thoughts. I truly thought they were so big and important that I needed to write them down!
I’m glad today that I kept this notebook so that I can use it to help others.
But the idea of meditation is to free us up from our thoughts, especially the unhelpful ones. There are always more thoughts to think. But do we even notice the thoughts we are having? Are we mindful about our self-talk? These are two things we will become more aware of in our meditation practice.
Here are some of the thoughts that tormented me as I began meditating and some may sound familiar:
- “I should…”
- “I can’t focus! My brain is a scattershot!”
- “My mind is all over!”
- “My oven makes clicking noises.”
- “Why am I chewing on my lips?”
- “My gut hurts.”
- “I’m tired.”
- Remembering something that happened earlier in the day.
- Things I want to do.
- My cat is crawling on me.
- Random memories from the 1980s.
- Thinking about religion.
- “What is that noise upstairs?”
- Worrying about things.
- Worrying about things I can’t control.
- Worrying about things I can control.
- Singing a song in my head.
- Becoming aware of stressors.
Whew! that’s a lot!
Let’s notice a few things here. There were moments I’d become aware of sounds happening around me. There were moments I’d become aware of sensations within me. You may experience all of the above and some of your own. Noticing sounds outside of myself and sensations within myself are signs I was beginning to become increasingly more aware. This is the goal; these aren’t bad things.
All of this is OK!
While not everyone has an inner monologue, this post is written for those of us who do.
You will still have days like this
I still have days when I sit down to meditate and my mind is all over, I’m fidgety, and I am annoyed at both of these things. We aren’t trying to be perfect at meditation. This is why it’s called a practice.
If you’re just starting out, use this trick that worked for me.
When a thought comes, picture it like a cloud in the sky. As it comes into view, you think to yourself, “Oh, there’s a cloud.” Then the cloud keeps floating along its path in the sky. Acknowledge that it exists, then allow it to float past you. It may morph into some other shape. It may dissipate in the heat. But it’s never permanent and neither are our thoughts.