Why We Don’t Quiet Our Minds in Meditation

David Nichtern was my first meditation teacher, and he is really special and awesome.

He is now writing for The Huffington Post and has some wonderfully helpful essays posted there.

I especially love this one How to Meditate Through Strong Emotions. He points out that the instruction to


just sit there and quiet your mind is an oversimplification of what we do in meditation. And then he sets forth what we are to do:

  1. Place our awareness on our breath.
  2. Recognize what arises in our minds — without trying to manipulate, judge or suppress anything.
  3. Simply see what arises in our mind as it comes up. Just notice it.
  4. Then let go of the thoughts and return our awareness to the breath thereby coming back to the present moment.

He concludes,

Our emotions, rather than feeding stale and repetitive mental habits, can manifest as the very expressions of being alive and living fully in an authentic way. From that point of view we do not utilize our meditation practice to suppress our feelings and emotions but to liberate them, by becoming more familiar with how they arise, what they actually feel like beyond acting out or repressing them, and therefore working with them in a more constructive way.

Please go and check out this and his other essays.