if you can watch your thoughts without getting identified with them then half of your problems won’t be there. many problems in life are just created by mind and its thoughts.
one of the basic principle in watching thoughts is your non-involvement with them. most people get involve with the thinking process because they assume that its their thoughts and its their thinking process. but in reality no thought belong to the soul. when you experience your source (or center or soul) in moments of bliss or no-mind or ecstasy, then where all these thoughts have gone?
wisdom of sages says that no thought belong to the soul. all the thoughts are at mind level only that is at the periphery. but at the center or the source of your being (soul) there is no thought as there is absolute silence, stillness and bliss pervading at your center.
to experience that blissful and silent state of your being, you need to first watch the thoughts going on in your mind. slowly as you stop getting involved with the thinking process then your mind will start slowing down. because mind feeds on your energy. more you think, more it will become active. as you stop getting involve in thinking then it does not get energy from you and its momentum starts slowing down. as your mind starts slowing down, you will start getting close to your inner center. so this passive watching of thoughts is the way to your being.
how to watch thoughts in meditation:
1. relax yourself
watching is a passive activity. so first of all relax yourself. don’t be tense or in a mood to fight with your thoughts. sit in a comfortable position or cross legged position. keep your eyes closed and start watching the traffic of thoughts in your mind.
2. too many thoughts in the mind
once you start watching thoughts then you will realize that there are too many thoughts in your mind. many people think that thoughts have increased after they have started watching them. don’t worry about it. it is just that now you are becoming conscious of your thoughts and you are not getting involved with them. otherwise these thoughts were always there in your mind. most people live unconscious life thats why they don’t come to know of this fact. as you watch your thoughts, you become more and more conscious of yourself. its a inner growth. so don’t be worry about how many thoughts are going on in your mind. just watch them quitely and also watch this thought which says there are so many thoughts in the mind !!! let no thought pass by without being noticed by you.
3. don’t try to stop the thoughts
many people want to stop the mind or stop the thinking process. it is not possible. because more you try to control the mind, more it becomes active. the only way to stop overthinking is via meditation. so never fight with your mind. let the mind do what it is doing. your job is to just watch the mind passively. so be a witness to all the thoughts going on in your mind.
4. watch the thoughts as if they don’t belong to you
one of the fundamental rule of witnessing thoughts is that you should not get identified with the thoughts. you should not think that they are your thoughts. you should not judge them as good, bad or ugly thoughts. you should take pride or feel guilty about the thoughts in your mind. basically don’t judge them, don’t get involve with them. instead watch them from a distance. watch them as if they are not your thoughts and you are watching someone else mind. stay aloof and watch the thoughts from a distance.
its like standing on a traffic signal and watching all the traffic of vehicles passing by. but the moment you get involve with the thinking process then realize that you have walked into the traffic of thoughts and accident has happened. the moment you realize you have got involved with the thinking then immediately step back and start watching again. if you feel guilty about it then watch this guilt thought also.
5. watch the gap between two thoughts
keep on watching your thoughts without getting identified or involve with them. over a period of time you will observe that thoughts are slowing down and becoming less and less. you will start seeing gap between two thoughts, just as we have gaps between two fingers. now start watching thee gaps between two thoughts also. stay relax and be in the present moment. when the thought come, watch it passively. when the gap come then watch the gap between two thoughts. watching the gap is the real thing as it deepens the silence within and you get to know your inner-self. remember, not to get excited as your meditation deepens. also watch any ego feeling arising in you. you have to become a witness to all the thoughts or emotions arising in you. you cannot be partial that you will only watch wrong thoughts and will get identified with good or pleasing thoughts. watch every thought which comes to your mind without any partiality.
6. practice watching the thoughts as much as you can
as you keep on watching the thoughts, then slowly over a period of time your witnessing center will develop. now you are able to watch your thoughts while standing in a public queue or while walking or doing any other mundane task. this is like you have graduated to the next stage. for this to happen, try to watch your thoughts when ever you get the time and space to do it. practice as much as you can. you will make mistakes but don’t worry. keep on watching the mind as often as you can. check this post of 51 tips for beginners in meditation.
7. watch the watcher
as your witnessing center will develop more then you will see that there is a center inside you which is always watching everything. now you watch this center who is watching everything. this is the most trickiest part and comes with lot of practice and is for advanced meditators.
few tips for watching thoughts:
1. cut down on your reading habits. don’t read newspaper or magazine. only read what is enough or needed for your job.
2. stop watching TV, cinema or surfing internet. because whatever you read in internet or in newspaper stays in your mind. it gives a momentum to the thoughts. the same thing comes in your dreams also. so cut all the mental rubbish which you are taking inside you unknowingly.
3. sleep well. if you cannot sleep deeply then you cannot meditate deeply. check this post on how to sleep deeply.
4. don’t be ambitious or egoistic in meditation. enjoy the meditation.
5. don’t be serious in meditation but be sincere in your practice. if you are becoming serious then watch this behavior of yours. next step from watching thoughts is to watch your emotions. so try it with different emotions you get while practicing meditation like boredom, guilt feeling, hurry to succeed in meditation and so on.
6. at initial stages of meditation it helps to develop a meditation space in your home.
7. it also helps a lot if you are regular in meditation practice.
8. have patience and determination.
9. give your 100 percent to meditation. make it your top priority in life.
10. read some good meditation books or attend any meditation camp or visit any ashram where meditation is practiced. group energy and like minded spiritual friends keep you motivated and also you learn from each other experiences.
11. learn to appreciate silence and aloneness in life. these two qualities will go a long way in deepening your meditation practice.