When we meditate it is very natural for our minds to be busy. It’s what minds do! The aim isn’t to empty the mind of thoughts (it’s impossible). The aim is to not be controlled by our thoughts. To recognise the pattern of our thoughts and be able to make choices. So if the focus of our meditation is our breath, then when we notice our mind is thinking, planning, worrying etc, we gently bring our focus back to our breath. We may need to do this hundreds of times.
I like to use the metaphor of our mind being the sky and our thoughts the clouds. The sky is always blue, sometimes there are little fluffy white clouds and sometimes the sky is dark with storm clouds.
The key is to observe the clouds (thoughts) and know that you are the sky. With practice it gets easier to observe your thoughts, notice the patterns of thoughts and return back to your focus (e.g. the breath). Some days our mind will be very busy, filled with lots of thoughts, worries etc. We may think our meditation has been no good if we are constantly bringing our awareness back from our thoughts. There is no good or bad meditation though. Some days our minds will be quieter and some days it will be busier. So let go of the idea of good or bad and know that if you are practicing you are doing your best in that moment.
Let Go of Expectation
Another key is to let go of expectation. Do not expect to achieve a particular state (e.g. feeling relaxed or calm). Practice with openness and curiosity. Let whatever comes up, come up. Practice with kindness, compassion and non-judgement. If we expect a certain state or feeling we may feel disappointed if it doesn’t happen. If we’re open and curious, then we can just be present with whatever arises.
Keep remembering you’re the sky!