May 1, 2020

Mental Noting in Meditation

Typically, a person's first attempt at meditating is extremely frustrating. The mind wanders, they realize they've become distracted, they try to come back to their breath... Then, their mind wanders off again, maybe for a few minutes, until they realize they've become distracted yet again, and feelings of anger arise. These feelings of anger leave many people feeling defeated.

It's common for people to give up during the beginning stages of meditation. Expecting to be thought-free and tranquil, the fear of failure creeps in. The expectation of failure.

However, it's crucial for beginners to know that this experience is not only common, but also part of the process. If anything, meditation is supposed to bring attention to how easily distracted the mind can be. Getting past this frustration and into the rhythm of meditation takes practice, patience, and a lot of self compassion.

One technique that helps to reduce frustration and distraction is called mental noting. During meditation, thoughts and feelings will inevitably arise. To remind yourself that these thoughts and feelings are normal, and to notice and label them as they appear, helps you reach a meditative state.

Andy Puddicombe, who developed the app called headspace, explains the concept of mental noting in the video linked HERE. A close connection of mine recommends the dozens of free guided meditations that Andy's app provides for free.

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