Precious Thoughts

Sometimes we get attached to our thoughts in meditation, and if we are reminded to come back to focusing on the rise and fall of our breath, we get grumpy. We were in the middle of a brilliant idea, a creative solution, a lovely visual feast – and the teacher wants us to come back to the breath? Boring!
If this feels familiar to your experience, remember that you have almost all day and night to think or dream anything you want. The mind runs free! But in this short period of meditation, we are training our minds to concentrate. So no matter how glorious a thought is, the breath is more important.
Why? Because this training is the means to end suffering. And what thought could be more valuable than that? By learning to bring ourselves back the the breath over and over again, we are making it possible for ourselves to find this still core within ourselves at some future time when we may desperately need it — when our minds are careening full speed trying to cope with a crisis, and our emotions are on heightened alert and everything seems absolutely impossible. In that situation, I am guessing there is no past thought, no matter how entertaining or brilliant, that will rush in to save us. But knowing the way back to the breath will.
So that’s the biggest reason that we welcome anything that brings us back into awareness of the breath, whether it’s the teacher’s words or another sound in the room. And if what brings us back is simply our own recognition of the fact that we are lost in thought, a little inner celebration is not out of order, as long as it doesn’t send us off into another train of thought!

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