Oakville Zen Meditation

#244 How can I stop my thoughts while meditating?

                          Meditation: How can I stop my thoughts while meditating?

How can I stop my thoughts? “, “ Should I try to stop thinking?” How to empty my mind?”

How to deal with our thoughts and feelings is one of the biggest challenges in meditation and in life in general.

Most of us coming to meditation read that meditation will clear the mind and make it quiet and still.

But, after few sessions of sitting meditation you realize that your own experience comes closer to rocking back and forth between ongoing thinking, worrying that you should not be thinking, struggling to stop your thoughts or trying to empty your mind. This is a wrong approach and source of absolute failure & quitting.


Unless your brain is dead, you are going to have thoughts and feelings whatever you are meditating or not.

The Dalai Lama is keep saying that “If I am not struggling with my mind while meditating, I am not meditating properly but rather snoozing or daydreaming. This is a very good point.

Our mind will always fire over 180,000 thoughts a day. This is his job and meditation will not freeze his activity. Sitting still & focusing on breathing will never make a 100% sill & clear mind.

While meditating, it is your relationship with your thoughts that is your awareness of them, that is critical.

Remember this: trying to stop your thoughts during meditation is the best way to stop meditating.

You don’t need to fight against them or to force anything. Resisting will be very frustrating and counterproductive.

When thoughts pop out during meditation------many will-------let them coming with open arms, accept it, don’t resist and don’t be upset.

Once you notice it, press the delete key and go back to your initial anchor such as breathing or anything else.

By going back and forth from anchor to thoughts your mind will get the message and cool off somewhat.

Our Western education is teaching us that we have to check ourselves constantly to see whether or nor we are doing OK in this and that including meditation. We want feedback on our progress:

“ Am I meditating correctly?” “ Am I progressing?” “ Am I getting somewhere?” “ My life is still the same!”

Our ego wants ongoing reassurance that we are on the right track and that the time and effort we are investing in meditation will make a difference. Subconsciously we want to be perfect.

This constant quest in comparing self with a so-called perfect entity is a great source of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. It also prevents us from been in the moment but rather in a fictional world with a super me.

What happens if we drop our role of judging our meditation?

So, if we should not judge our meditation, how do we know that we are advancing in our practice.

We will not know-----and this is OK because the beneficial effects of meditation have nothing to do

with its quality but rather on the quality of our life and how we perceive it.

When you are following your breath, drop the notion of “ I am focusing on my breath” and just pay attention to it.

When a thought pops out be aware of it and accept it. Your mind is dealing with 2 states: breathing and thinking.

One has to go since our mind, despite its enormous power cannot deal with 2 thoughts at the same time.


The 3 main purposes of meditation are:

Learning to be conscious of the concrete and only absolute reality of the present moment in which we exist, since “pastyou” & “futureyou” are mind-made false realities.!!!

Learning to focus in a mindfully way on x, y, or z that is w/o analytic purpose, judgment or decision.

Learning to be aware to our thoughts/emotions, accept them and letting them go to achieve constant serenity. Fighting against our emotions make them stronger.

The benefits of meditation are not related to its quality because perfect meditation such as thoughtless meditation is a myth regardless the duration of practice.

However, its benefits are cumulative with practice and are reflected in our perception of life, people and its events and how we are able to pay attention and control our thoughts and emotions.

Thanks you.