+3 votes
by (150 points)


I've been meditating daily for a couple of months. I've been noting "rising, falling, hearing, pain, happy, calm and ..." but cannot note the thoughts!

Thoughts do arise! Quite often too! But by the time I notice and start to note them, they're gone and if I note "distracted, thinking, doubting, or ..." it would be incorrect(?) because the thought would be gone the moment I start to note it. 'I was doubting, I am not now!'. Noting the gone-by thoughts creates a disconnect from reality since what I am noting is not of my present state.

As if the noting and thinking cannot exist simultaneously.

If I do note them, it feels like a whack-a-mole game in my head! When I note, the previous thought is gone and when I stop noting, the new one arises. I usually bring my attention to the rising and falling and try to ignore my thoughts.

Am I suppressing my thoughts albeit unintentionally? Is this normal for the mind of a tunnel-visioned beginner?

Regards :)

3 Answers

+3 votes
by (18.3k points)
Mindfulness is about reminding of what just happened. So it is indeed done after the thought is gone. You are just reminding that this is what really happened. It reduces the chances of ignorant interpretations/fabrications.

At the beginning you will be slow to catch thoughts as soon as they arise, but if you keep practicing, you will be able to be mindful immediately after they arise. Just like how in a whack-a-mole game, a first time player would be too slow to catch them. The difference is, it's not about whacking the thought or suppressing. It's about remembering that it's just thinking, nothing more, nothing less.
0 votes
by (190 points)
This is a good sign, as you are a beginner (2 months is nothing).  Those thoughts bubbling up need to bubble up, and out.  You just have to let them go and go back to breath.  I know, easier said than done, but it sounds like you are trying too hard...you are clinging.

Even after 20+ years of meditation, if I don't meditate for a few days I'm back to that point initially....figure on about 30 minutes to get back into the flow at least, and in your case probably longer if you aren't doing it every day.  After 30 or so minutes your mind will quiet down...it is like a pool of water with a stone thrown in...it takes a while for the ripples to finally settle back down.  And there are a boatload of stones in the modern world to make ripples, that is for sure!  

This is why serious practictioners in places like Korea go to mountain hermitages for months at a time (year in the old days)...to get away from all the disturbances, all the stones...within a few days you can get deep states in minutes instead of hours.  Living in the modern world and being a Buddhist is a tough combination...but you can do it.

You know the way you feel when you come home after some big, boisterous event such as a new years party, a football game, or something?  You cannot settle down for hours, right?  You might stay awake all night.  The bigger, noisier, or generally more impactful an event is, the longer it takes your "mental pond" to get calm again...  In fact, I think you need a retreat of some kind, a week or two alone in a cabin or tent away from noisy civilization to establish a baseline, to learn what that baseline feels like...that could be very valuable for you.  Few people know what that baseline is like these days; most people's minds are never completely calm...in fact it scares most people in the Western world to be alone and let their mind quiet down, it really does...because they have never done it!
0 votes
by (1.9k points)
try a different technique, for example- focusing on stomach movement while breathing.

when stomach rises: say out(in your mind)

when stomach falls: say in(in your mind)

thoughts will come & go and sometimes your mind will go with the thought but then u will remember that you need to focus on the stomach then bring back the focus.
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