Yes you read that right. Thoughts in meditation are a good thing! Get out of town! Eureeka! Hallelujah! HELL YES!
This was my reaction (on the inside) when I first heard this on the weekend while attending a meditation course with the incredible Tom Cronin, Founder of The Stillness Project. Since the small intimate group of the 3 of us were sitting in Tom's home library with candles burning and our flower offering laid out on the little altar, I didn't think it would be socially acceptable to exclaim my excitement out loud.
For a long time I thought that the whole point of meditation was to empty your mind and therefore having thoughts during meditation meant that I wasn't doing it right.
Consequently I generally found meditation hard work, and often more stressful than relaxing as I have never been able to completely clear my mind. I have had a handful of deep meditative experiences but I never knew why or how I achieved it and couldn't replicate it.
However Tom set the record straight for me, and I take his word for it as someone with 20 years meditation experience.
So allow me to explain.
The Body Bone's Connected To The Mind Bone
Ok so the body and the mind aren't actually bones, but I've just got that jingle stuck in my head. My point is that the mind and the body are connected.
There is increasingly more and more scientific evidence proving this. I'm not going to go into the details of how that actually all works here, but if your interested and want to learn more check out the work of Bruce Lipton.
So in meditation as you drop down into deeper states of stillness and rest your body begins to correct and heal itself. In this deep state what's happening is that your entire body and nervous system is being de-excited.
Once in that state your body naturally begins to release the toxic energy, emotions, stresses and chemicals stored in the cells of the body. This process needs a surge of energy in order to release and that's when we find ourselves drifting out of a deep relaxed state into thinking again.
Therefore having thoughts during meditation is a completely normal part of the process.
As Tom says, thoughts during meditation are a sign that your body and mind are reorganising themselves. It's a sign that you actually are meditating right!
Once we realise that we are thinking again then we simply bring ourselves back to the stillness. Meditation is actually like a gentle wave that moves between stillness and thoughts and back to stillness again.
Doesn't that take a load off! Now there's no more reason to beat ourselves up for thinking during meditation. Can I get an Amen! (Hozier gives a cracker of a one at 3:06 in his latest song which happens to be my favourite at the moment)
Let me know how your meditations go for you now that you know this. Did you notice any difference? Did you find it more enjoyable and less stressful? Post in the comments below