Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Those Pesky Thoughts and Emotions

Please enjoy my current post at the What Meditation Really Is Blog.  Here’s the introduction:

There are times when my mind seems to turn against me.  It brews up a tumultuous storm.  Gnarly emotions trying to get my goat and succeeding from time to time – or so it seems.  Even meditation seems like a Herculean feat.

Does that ever happen to you?

One day, as my mind was bombarded by an onslaught of strong emotions, I wandered down to the ocean’s shore. Sitting on the firm black sand, watching the waves roll in again and again, this is what came into my mind.

Continue Reading at the What Meditation Really Is Blog


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  1. Great info! I think people have a lot of misconceptions about meditation – that it’s having no thoughts, instead of just giving awareness to thoughts.

    Love this: Practicing meditation doesn’t magically make all the risings of mind permanently disappear. If it did, you would be unconscious if not dead! But it does give you a spacious wisdom-based perspective with which to meet them when they surprise you once again.

    • Katie,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to check it out. I agree that many people have misconceptions about meditation. Thanks for bringing out that point. All the best to you.

  2. Hi Sandra,

    Yeah I have experienced times where my mind is really restless and there is little I can do to still it. Not even meditation helps. I can stare at my library (800+ books and counting) for a long time and yet find nothing of interest to read.

    I liked how you came to the realization of impermanence by staring at the waves. That is a lovely story which would never have happened if you did not have a strong meditative foundation to clear your mind and centre your thoughts.

    When I was younger, I thought that meditation would magically give us lasting peace. Over time did I realize that it was something we had to practice constantly and on top of that, we had to nourish our mind with wisdom from spiritual books. Only then would we have the ability to still and manage our thoughts at will. Having said that, meditation is something that everyone in the world should practice. If we did so, the world would be a better place.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hi Irving,
      The way that your understanding of meditation has evolved since you were young is very illuminating. I believe that we all come to meditation for different purposes, all of which are valid. However, the longer we stay with meditation the more likely it is that we will uncover so much more about what it can truly do for us. Combining meditation with the study of spiritual wisdom – as you recommend – is truly a powerful combination. We need both skillful means (meditation) and wisdom, to realize our true self.

      As always, I appreciate your enlightening comment.

  3. Meditation is the key. Chattering monkey minds is the Lock. Use silence to break the seal. Great post.

  4. I have tried to outgrow chronic inattention for most of my life. What works best for me is to sit, in the Zen sense. Not sit and think. It isn’t “doing nothing” either. I sit. I notice my breathing and my heart beating. Thoughts and sensations come in, but I don’t engage or anchor them. They drift out again. I sit. It’s sort of all focus with no concentration. Just… sit.

    I feel more rested and peaceful after a few minutes of this practice, and I can do it most anywhere.

    • Mike,
      This is an excellent description of meditation. I resonate with your description of it’s all “focus with no concentration”. It doesn’t help to be over concentrated in meditation. I’ve learned a balance of 25% mindfulness, 25% watchful awareness, and 50% abiding spaciously. It sounds very similar to your approach.

      Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your meditation.

  5. Thanks! I appreciate that.

  6. There are many misconceptions about what mediatation and that’s why your post is so important for those who wish to learn about what mediatation actually is.

    I began meditating when I was in college and have continued meditating in several forms almost every day since that time. I am grateful that very early on I was presented with an opportunity to participate in a a non-sectarian 10 day Noble Slience Vipassana retreat. Because at that retreat all my misconceptions about meditation were swept away and my bodhi moment occurred on the 3rd day.

    I learned that meditation is becoming aware of the vital stillness and spaciousness and hearing within that stillness. I learned that this state is naturally present before you become attached to thoughts and things; before you identify with thought-feeling-reaction.

    I recognized the import of the teaching that chasing thoughts projected
    by my monkey mind, which would be presenting data and emotions from the
    past and projecting possible future scenarios was preventing me from
    leaving the beta state and entering the alpha state. I stopped chasing my thoughts and allowed them to evaporate like clouds passing through the sky.

    There have been times in my life when my monkey mind has been extremely active. I have recently gone through such a period but the wisdom of the ages holds true. When I retain a blue sky mind and do not cogitate or contemplate and/or run off with my delusions when they arise, I make the shift into the meditative state.

    No matter which spiritual pathway any person is on and no matter how far they assume they have come, I highly recommend attending a non-sectarian 10 day Noble Slience Vipassana retreat. I have attended several over the years and will be attending one again this autumn.

    Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned from your experience and from Patrul Rinpoche’s teachings with your readers.


    • timethief,

      What a beautiful articulation of your experience of meditation. As you point out, it does take time to realize what meditation really is! It takes looking at one’s own mind. It’s a process that unfolds over time and gradually more veils are lifted. Thanks for telling us about your meditation retreats. I’ve also done long meditation retreats. It’s so remarkable what happens to mind on retreat. I wish everyone could experience it! I heartily concur with your encouragement for everyone to try out a meditation retreat. In addition to the Vipassana style retreat you recommend, there are so many other options like Zen, Tibetan, Mindfulness based approaches, and so on. There’s a perfect approach for almost anyone.

  7. This is great Sandra. You did an excellent job at describing the emotional benefits of meditation. I use it to help my anxiety. I wouldn’t want to do without my daily meditation. Thanks Sandra!

  8. Thanks, Dandy! Meditation is terrific for anxiety. I’m glad you found it and that it helps you so much. Wishing you the best!

  9. Sandra,
    Very awesome!!

    And I personally will also say that I’ve found much “ease”, as well, when I regularly meditate. And what a feeling of inner peace that is…

  10. Sandra, I LOVE the new blog layout! Great job, my friend.

    You are right on in your guest post – I would have left this comment there but didn’t see a comment box or section. I’ve practiced meditation for several years (though, admittedly, not as often as I should), but a few years ago, I really experienced this. I walked a labyrinth for the first time. I didn’t grow up Catholic, and honestly, I don’t know a lot of Catholic friends who actually walk labyrinths. But I had the opportunity, and as I tried to still my mind and focus on the journey and meditate, I found I could not break the distractions coming in my head. It began to occur to me just how easily distracted I am. I would call this a form of gossip bubbles. But as I worked to clear my head, I began to realize I was coming to these realizations for a reason. As if the Infinite Intelligence were trying to get my attention.

    Thank you for sharing, Sandra. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend.

    • Bryan,
      This is so beautifully articulated! I love the image of “gossip bubbles.” I’ve found that through meditation and spiritual study, I’m better able to replace “gossip bubbles” with wisdom bubbles! A rainbow of wisdom!

      Thanks for sharing your story of how this insight came about walking the labyrinth. It’s amazing how grace descends any time, any place. A very lovely story.

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