When we say we’re “lost in thought”, we really do mean we’re lost. One of the fruits of meditation or mindfulness practice is we can notice it sooner. Before I started meditating, I could be lost in thought for years! For many of us, we live in our thought layer. We don’t really inhabit our bodies. We seldom notice energy or breathing.
Our responses to experience happens in our bodies and breath as well as through thought. When we’re really absorbed in thoughts streaming through our mind, that is the only layer through which we experience life.
In the early 90’s I began meditating. I had just left seven years in a very stressful job with an AIDS organization. I noticed my mind was so compulsive about it, I couldn’t stop thoughts about it even for five minutes. It really had me. There was more compulsion in that than the wandering thoughts we often experience. Some types of thoughts have such power we can’t focus on anything else. I was just learning about my mind through meditation and was shocked to learn that was what was going on.
With a wandering mind, we have a lot more capacity to focus on the breath and body. When we have something that is so threatening or meaningful or charged in the thought stream, we don’t have as much room. It’s so compelling.
Thought comes up as words and/or pictures. Some thoughts are fairly neutral. Others have a positive or negative charge felt as energy or sensation in our body. The Living Inquiries can really help us to be present, attend to this energy and release the charge or trigger. As the compulsion and fear drop away, our minds become healthier and that spreads through our whole system.
Join me Nov 13th as my guest for 30 minutes on Living Inquiries and The Mind and again the following week for a 90 minute in-depth workshop Working Skillfully With The Mind with myself and Colette Kelso. Details here.