“We need a resolute determination
To silence the pride
Of thought-flood.”
– Sri Chinmoy

Imagine thoughts during meditation are birds in the sky.

You are not the birds. You are the sky.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle we encounter in meditation, is the very first hurdle: the stream of thoughts flowing through our minds.

What to do with these thoughts?

Never be discouraged. Everyone faces the same challenge and for everyone, it is difficult. If you give up, you will never reach the goal.

Patience and persistence always win. If your mind is as stubborn as a rock, then bring forth a determination as persistent as water. Water will eventually wear down even the toughest rock.

Imagine your mind is the vast sky, and thoughts are birds flying through your sky. Your task is to remain focused on the sky, not on the birds. There will always be birds somewhere in the sky: accept them as something natural and inevitable, and let them fly right by.

The moment you focus on a particular bird, then that thought-bird becomes a distraction, and your meditation is disturbed. The bird is not to blame; it’s just doing its thing. Your focus on the bird is the culprit.

Let’s focus on what is within our power, and not what is beyond our control. You may not be able to stop the birds from flying, but you can ignore them.

Another version of this approach is to imagine that you are the lead bird flying in formation. You are seeing only sky ahead of you. When a thought comes, that is another bird trying to take the lead. So speed up – redouble your enthusiasm and application – to take the lead again and be immersed once more in infinite sky. Never surrender your lead!

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