When people are meditating with their legs crossed and eyes closed, they look like they’re in a trance. But when you try it, your mind becomes filled with thoughts, making it nearly impossible to find the level of Zen you thought you’d be experiencing.
One of the biggest misconceptions about meditation is that your mind goes blank. In reality, that’s not the case at all. When you’re sitting quietly, it’s totally normal for your mind to wander—and it doing so doesn’t mean you’re failing at meditation, or that you’re not getting as much out of it as you could be. In fact, it’s so common that there’s a name for it.
In one of Intuition’s virtual meditation sessions, Kristianna George, an Atlanta-based health and wellness coach, said what you’re experiencing is called “the monkey mind.” Basically, it’s when your mind gets caught up in thought, where you’re thinking about the past, future, or sometimes the present.
“It’s called the monkey mind because it’s like a monkey in the forest. He’s grabbing on from branch to branch, and each branch represents a thought. And that monkey keeps on swinging from one branch to the next,” she says. “You need to let go of the branches and sit in that present moment awareness where there’s this calm, centered being.”
That’s why being guided through your meditations can be so helpful for beginners. While seasoned pros (who still get these thoughts, by the way!) can sit quietly and bring their minds back to center as needed, following along with someone’s voice can help you stay on track. Instead of your mind racing all over the place like a monkey grabbing for branches, you’ll be able to zone in on what your instructor is saying.
When you’re ready to give meditation a try, George recommends finding a comfortable place to sit where you’ll remain undisturbed. Then, pull up a guided meditation. Intuition has virtual sessions that are both live and on-demand.
As you close your eyes and begin inhaling and exhaling, your body will slowly begin to relax. And by the time your session ends, you’ll feel more calm, less stressed, and ready to take on the world.