Have you tried meditation?
Then you must have felt that as soon as you start to focus or observe the object of meditation your breath your mind wanders and a train of thoughts start.
So the question is
Can you control your thoughts while meditating?
A short answer to this question will be No. Purpose of meditation is to see/observe things as they are so it’s choice-less, effortless observation of the reality as it is. If you try to control your thoughts then you will put effort to change the reality.
The reality of the moment for you is that your mind has wandered and thoughts have started arriving in your mind.
You should just note that reality and then again start observing the object of meditation that is your breath.
It can be frustrating sometimes to keep on drifting and then coming back to your breath again and again.
No, your reality is frustration your feeling by not able to observer your breath continuously and getting drifted away by thoughts.
See this reality as it is there is nothing good or bad in it.
Simply don’t react to the frustration and just note it this makes the feeling of frustration lose its power without you putting effort by just observing.
Here are a few steps you can follow deal with thoughts during meditation
1. Accept state of Your mind
Just accept the state of your mind as it is you might feel agitated or you may sometimes feel you are wasting your time as you are unable to focus due to endless thoughts.
Sometimes you may have guilt or a bad feeling for not being able to focus on your breath continuously
Whatever it maybe it’s your reality just accept it as it is and the start again going back to your breath.
Always remember the goal is not to be in a state of bliss or without any agitation or to stop thoughts.
Your goal is to observe reality as it is without any reaction to it and without any effort just note whatever thought comes to your mind without any reaction or judgement.
Just accept that habit pattern of your mind has been to drift away to think of past or future for a long time.
2. Understand Thoughts are not bad for your practice
You have to understand that thoughts are not bad for meditation practice or your growth through the practice.
The only thing that is not helpful and can stall your progress is judgment or reaction towards the thoughts.
Even if you react or judge your thoughts just keep a note of that reaction or judgment that’s your reality for that moment just accept it as it is.
3. Try switching to walking meditation
You can try switching for walking meditation for some time and then come back to sitting. You can switch between both.
Just walking for some time and observing the movement of your feet, legs and other body parts. Just be aware of walking.
This can also help you to see things as they are and let go of thoughts without reacting to them or getting obsessed about them.
Once you feel the true nature of thoughts is to just arise and pass they can’t harm you until you react or judge then it becomes a lot easier for you.
4. Take a few intentional deep breaths
Sometimes it may happen that you are unable to feel your breath at all and it may become difficult for you to observe your breath
In this case, you can intentionally take a few deep breaths so that you start to feel your breath.
Whenever you feel like you are unable to observe your breath at all you can take some intentional breaths and just being aware of doing that.
It will help you in observing your natural breath.
It’s easy to deal with thoughts if you understand the basic nature of thoughts is to arise and pass it won’t affect you until you react or judge.
If you simply note your thoughts as they are you are progressing in your meditation practice.
Another thing you must remember is to see reality as it is this is our goal.
Meditation should be choice-less, effortless observation of reality as it is. Be happy! Be peaceful