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.