We are so used to our mind’s constant clutter, that we become inured to its incessant activity. The only time we notice so many thoughts is when we sit down and try to meditate. It’s as though all of a sudden there are all these thoughts at the precise moment we don’t want any! Of course the thoughts have been there the whole time…
If you come from a quiet village to live on a busy street in the city, at first you won’t be able to sleep at night due to all the noise of traffic and activity outside. Yet after a while you get used to the noise. It becomes part of your background. So is it with our thoughts. We just don’t notice them any more – until we try to turn them off.
Yet even though we may not be 100% successful in silencing the mind, there is always tremendous benefit just from the effort to do so. Let’s say the usual level of activity in our mind is around 100 TPM (thoughts per minute). Now when we sit to meditate, while focusing on our chosen object perhaps we are able to bring the rate down to 50 TPM. Because our goal is to have 0 TPM we are disheartened by this: we say “I’m a failure at meditation because I have still have so many thoughts!”
Yet we should be proud of this achievement: 50 TPM is a huge improvement on 100 TPM! What is most important is progress. Little by little by little we bring the mind under our control.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Don’t be tempted to judge the quality of your meditation experience. The only essential thing is to practise with sincerity every day.
Your progress is assured.