It’s 10:10 pm, and I’m winding down to go to bed. I’ve implemented meditation into my life. You can read more about that here. Or here.

I made a decision to meditate before I go to bed.

Why? I noticed that I sleep better on nights where I meditate right before bed.

Am I supposed­­ to medita­te right before bed? Some experts say no. But I don’t care because I feel better doing it.

A few minutes go by as I’m sitting in my chair, trying to go through my mindfulness meditation routine. I have some light music playing in the background, and I’m really trying to focus on my breath.

“What should I have for breakfast?” pops into my head. Shoot. That brought me out of my focused, peaceful state of conciousness.

I take a few deep breaths and focus on my breath and body.

“How am I going to get all of that stuff done at work tomorrow? There’s no way I can do it. I’m so sick of all this…” Arg! I did it again.

Okay, for real this time. I close my eyes and focus on my breaths. I count to three breaths.

“I forgot to schedule my dentist appointment again! I need to make a note of this.” I grab my phone and make a quick note to remind myself to schedule an appointment tomorrow.

“Well that ruined any chance of meditating tonight.”

How many times has this happened to you?

It seems to be happening to me more often lately than I would like.

I sit down to meditate. Then my thoughts explode.

All of the things that I forget about during the day magically appear in my conscious mind. All those thoughts, worries, stresses, appointments, meetings, and so forth.

You name it, and I’m thinking about it, when I least want to.

What could I do to fix this?

A wise friend once gave me some advice when it comes to meditating. They told me my mind is a dog.

“Okay…what?” I asked.

“Just hear me out,” said wise person.

“Imagine your mind as a dog on a leash. Every time you meditate and have a thought, your mind suddenly wants to chase after it.”

“It’s like when a dog sees a car or a ball or another dog. They start going after it and trying to get it.”

“During the day, your mind is an unleashed dog. It chases whatever it wants and goes wherever it wants.”

“But when you meditate, you want to put the dog on a leash. Put your mind on a leash.”

“Your mind is going to chase thoughts for no reason.”

Like when I started to think about breakfast, work, and appointments for no apparent reason.

“So what you need to do is let your mind pursue those thoughts to an extent. And once they’ve gone too far, pull them back in. Just like you would do to a dog on a leash.”

“It’s okay to let your mind pursue different thoughts to a degree. But if you let them go too far, you are defeating the purpose of the meditation.”

“Let your mind wander very slightly, and once it’s gone far enough, pull it back in.”

My wise friend may also be a little crazy. But he has a good point.

So I’m going to try this out next time I meditate. I’ll let my thoughts go a little bit, but then I will pull them back in. Just like a dog on a leash.

Maybe this analogy will help me focus better with my mindfulness meditation. Or maybe it’s just crazy talk. Whatever the case may be, I’m going to test it out tonight and see how it goes.

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21 thoughts on “Your thoughts are like a dog on a leash

  1. I suggest you have a pen and paper handy. When your mind wants to wander, jot down the thought so you can come back to the thought after meditation and you don’t need to think about it anymore, you can let go of it. It works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s actually a really good idea! That way I can get that nagging thought out of my head and get back to what matters. Thanks for the advice. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your wise friend’s advice is great. I will add to simply and kindly acknowledge the thoughts that arise and go back to the breath as you do. The important thing is to be non-judgmental and kind to yourself in that moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true. I will heed to your advice and acknowledge those thoughts in a non-judgmental way. Thank you for the words of wisdom!

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  3. Makes a lot of sense. Practical application, requires a little patience, because it requires retraining one’s brain. With both, patience and persistence, behavior modification is very possible. Good luck with this process.

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  4. Thoughts in the mind are like sounds in a room. There always are lots of sounds, just that we are generally aware only of the loud and obvious ones. But when the room goes quieter, you start hearing the subtle ones you don’t really notice and you start wondering why there are so many sounds suddenly. The sounds have always been there. So the reason why you seem to have so many thoughts suddenly is because you have become more mindful. Observe the nature of thoughts. See if you can notice where they come from and where they go.

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    1. I love this. Thank you for the wise words. I guess I’m not always the best at observing the nature of these thoughts. This is something I will focus on improving with each meditation session.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  5. I love the dog on a leash analogy !

    This happens to me a lot and when it does, I like to observe that the mind has wandered and try to become fully aware of the act of ‘wandering’. Noticing how an unconcentrated mind feels when it wanders, observing where it goes and how it jumps from one object of concentration to an other. Only then one can start to understand that the wandering mind isn’t ‘me’. It is just the act of “a crazy dog on a leash” that wanders in the past or in the future. From that realization, you can start to dis-embed from the wandering mind even.

    Thank you for this great post

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very wise indeed. I’m going to make more of an effort to separate myself from the wandering mind to see where it comes from and where it goes. Thank you for the words of wisdom. Have a great day!

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  6. Thank you for following me Justin! This made be grin! I was just complaining last week to my spiritual intuitive that I was not meditating well. it was just like your description! Then I added, I realized I needed to cut my nails. She said, well you reigned yourself in didn’t you? No, I replied I gave up and cut my nails! This morning went much better. When I finished meditating I wrote my first blog in 2 1/2 months!

    Liked by 1 person

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