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Day four – acceptance

An essential part of meditation is being able to accept what is occurring in your mind and emotions right now. This is one of the things you have been practising for the past three days.

When we first start to meditate, our mind is often very active. There is a constant flow of thinking, like a fire hose, and we can feel that our thoughts are quite significant.

In terms of learning to meditate, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in your mind, or how busy your mind is. If your mind is very busy, that’s fine. Maybe your mind is listing off all the things you need to get done when you finish meditating. Perhaps you’re dwelling on a big problem. The first step is just accepting that you have those thoughts without trying to change them at all. The thought could be unethical, silly, embarrassing or hugely important.

No matter the content of the idea, the most important thing initially is that you give yourself permission to be having that thought right now.

Each time you notice your mind has wandered off on to some trail of thought, and you acknowledge that and gently bring it back to the present moment, you are succeeding in meditation.

Daily exercise:

Sit in a comfortable upright position on a chair or cushion on the ground with your hands resting comfortably on your lap.

After setting the timer, close your eyes and let your thoughts do as they wish. While you sit with your eyes closed, notice whether your thoughts and self-talk are about the past, present, or future.

If you observe a thought or self-talk about the past or the future, firstly accept or allow yourself to be having the thought or dialogue about the past or the future. If you rush and say to yourself you must quickly get back to the present moment, it’s going to be less effective than firstly accepting you are having the thought you’re having.

Allow yourself to talk internally as much as you want. If you notice your self-talk is about the past or the future, firstly give yourself permission to be having the thought and then with a small amount of gentleness or kindness guide your awareness back to something in the present moment.