How to meditate on thought when your mental health is a challenge

meditate on thought - man walking along train tracks in winter

How to meditate on thought when your mental health is a challenge

People with mental health challenges have extra wrinkles in the thinking process, but they can still meditate on thought. Mental health symptoms add an extra layer or filter that may lead to depressed, anxious, obsessive, recurring, or leaden thoughts. Those with mental health issues work with a mind that is extra active, extra inactive, or both.

All minds are tricky. It’s just a matter of degree.

Depending on how you experience thoughts, thinking is either a seductive, slippery slope with a sticky trap at the bottom or a window into the nature of consciousness. This is why it’s important, particularly if you have such issues, to have guidance, a meditation teacher and/or therapist to help you navigate these waters.

Be clear about the nature of thought. The human mind uses thought to model reality, but thoughts are not reality itself. We are not our thoughts, and we don’t have to believe everything we think. Some thoughts are useful. Some are not. No need to quiet the mind. We let it quiet itself. We can select thoughts as our object for movement practice the same way we use body sensations. While thoughts may be more seductive and trickier, once you’ve built stronger concentration skills, thoughts offer insight into everyday experience.

The mind is like the sky. Some days it is clear. Other days, clouds fill it. The clouds are not the sky. They simply pass through. When we meditate, we can’t always see the clear sky of our mind, but with enough practice, we can let the clouds pass. And regardless of how clouded with thoughts the  mind may be, we always know that clear blue sky is there.

In the next chapter ahead, I’ll introduce additional ways to practice beyond simple awareness. The options are limitless.

I have included more than twenty “Your Turn” exercises in the book Make Every Move a Meditation.

This excerpt is from Make Every Move a Meditation by Nita Sweeney which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.