Updated: Jun 21
What should I Think About While Meditating?
While meditation may seem like a simple practice, it can be challenging for beginners to quiet their minds and focus on the present moment. Many people wonder what to think about while meditating, or if they should even think at all.
It's important to recognize that meditation is not about getting rid of all thoughts. According to the research of Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford University, the average human has approximately 60,000 thoughts per day, and 90% of these are repetitive!
Here is what to think about while meditating
During meditation, our thoughts may appear as a continuous stream of mental activity, similar to a river flowing steadily downstream. We may notice thoughts coming and going, without getting caught up in them or becoming attached to them. By focusing on a single point of concentration, such as the breath or a mantra, our mind becomes more still and calm, and distracting thoughts may gradually start to diminish.
Here is what some professional meditation teachers say about what to think about while meditating.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, a renowned mindfulness teacher, suggests focusing on the breath, body sensations, or the repetition of a chosen phrase (mantra) as anchors for attention during meditation Source: "Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher, and author, advises redirecting attention to the breath whenever the mind wanders, allowing thoughts to arise and pass without judgment or attachment Source: "Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation" by Sharon Salzberg.
Jack Kornfield, a mindfulness teacher, and author, emphasizes cultivating loving-kindness and compassion as objects of meditation, directing thoughts towards sending goodwill to oneself and others
Source: "The Wise Heart" by Jack Kornfield
Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist nun and author, encourages acknowledging thoughts without getting caught up in them and returning to the present moment by focusing on the breath or the physical sensations of the body.
It's important to note that everyone's experience during meditation may vary, and there is no right or wrong way for our thoughts to appear while meditating. The key is to maintain a non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts and let them come and go without getting caught up in them.