Some of my best thoughts come while meditating.
Yeah, I know. Those of you who've never meditated might say, "But I thought you're supposed to clear the mind of thoughts when meditating."
And, those of you who have meditated, whether briefly or for years, might say, "if you're thinking, and thinking your best thoughts while you're seated in meditation, you might not be able to count that as meditation."
But hang in there with me.
A few weeks ago I participated in a webinar with MDs Lissa Rankin and one of my all-time favorite authors, Rachel Naomi Remen. (Seriously, pick up Kitchen Table Wisdom. It changed my life, and might just change yours.)
Part of the webinar focused on identifying how our soul speaks to or guides us. Some of the ways that were discussed were internal signs, like persistent thoughts, dreams, or intuition. Others were external, such as somatic symptoms (illnesses), found objects, "coincidences," and voices or visions.
As I sat through the webinar, I struggled with identifying the ways my soul speaks to me. And then after the next two mornings when I meditated, I noticed something.
And first, I should explain. To me, meditating is a process of allowing for thoughts to come to mind, acknowledging that you're having those thoughts, then letting them go on their merry way. It is not a process of intentionally forcing thoughts out of the mind, nor is it a process of indulging and getting caught up in those thoughts. It's a way to observe the thoughts you have and let them go. A way to recognize that you are not your thoughts.
So, back to those post-webinar mornings. I noticed that my thought patterns run two ways.
First are the thoughts I'll label the laundry list.
Gotta do the dishes today.
To do the dishes, I need to buy dishwashing detergent.
Why's the dog whining?
Is that meeting at 11 or noon?
Geez, my knee hurts.
These are the thoughts that I can acknowledge, then release, and come back to a quiet state. They can be annoying, and seem never-ending, but they're harmless.
Then there are the thoughts that niggle. And return. And return. And return.
Sometimes they return in one session. Sometimes they return morning after morning after morning.
These are the thoughts I'm learning to take note of. To differentiate from the laundry list thoughts. And to acknowledge them in a different way — to sort of "mark with a star" in my mind, then let go in order to come back to quiet. (I am still meditating after all — a process that's becoming more fruitful than I ever anticipated.)
How does your soul speak to you?