Mind-wandering is Not a Problem

By noticing and getting to know our patterns, we untangle from the bind of automaticity.

baluchis/Dollar Photo Club

What do you notice when you practice meditation? Most people find that their minds won’t stay still. Attention is drawn away, again and again, into thoughts, feelings, sounds, sights, smells—into anything except where we meant to put it. It’s tempting to view this as a problem that mindfulness practice will rectify—if we train ourselves to keep coming back, won’t we soon be able to focus more easily?

Perhaps. But something else may be happening too. If you’ve discovered that you’re not fully in charge of your mind, you might like to ask yourself: How do I know this? How have I realized that the mind is distracted? And how am I able to bring it back? In order to notice that the mind has wandered, and be able to return it to attention, there must be something bigger than that mind, a wider perspective that can observe the distraction. That wider perspective is awareness.

Awareness sees the whole picture. With it, we can experience life with a more open lens. We might think it’s a bad thing to notice the mind drifting, but actually the reverse is true. The fact we can see it means we’re opening to greater consciousness.…