The practice of meditation can be thought of as an opportunity to get to know oneself. A private journey of self discovery, meditation has been used for thousands of years to help individuals witness the nature of the mind. Many who find themselves able to sit long enough to move through both the light and the dark aspects, discover that also contained within the mind is a peaceful stillness.
In this Shambhala Sun article by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the practice of mindfulness meditation is explained. According to Rinpoche (the holder of the Buddhist and Shambhala lineages of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche), environment, posture, a person’s gaze, and the use of the breath are important factors in any meditation practice. One of the most important aspects of meditation is what to do when thoughts arise. Says Rinpoche, the key is to be unbiased.
Everyone gets lost in thought sometimes. You might think, “I can’t believe I got so absorbed in something like that,” but try not to make it too personal. Just try to be as unbiased as possible. Mind will be wild and we have to recognize that. We can’t push ourselves. If we’re trying to be completely concept-free, with no discursiveness at all, it’s just not going to happen.
So through the labeling process, we simply see our discursiveness. We notice that we have been lost in thought, we mentally label it “thinking”—gently and without judgment—and we come back to the breath. When we have a thought—no matter how wild or bizarre it may be—we just let it go and come back to the breath, come back to the situation here.
Read more from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on the practice of mindfulness meditation here.