I’ve written about this before in relation to meditation, and it has been prominent in my mind again. As such I felt like reflecting on what the message is that accompanies this instruction at this time.
With any given meditation instruction I find it is very easy to imagine where I should be on the completion of such practice - that is if completion is a thing with regard to meditation. I find myself imagining what the goal is and as such in the back of my mind as I am sitting, there is that sense, that expectation of my mind needing to be a certain way. That I should be thinking, feeling, being a certain way.
But that in itself is something else to let go of.
Ultimately meditation is meant to transform us so that a state of mind becomes our way of being. We don’t act out or pretend to be a certain way. We just are that way. If I am acting or pretending, life has a way of throwing a curve ball at us such that that pretense is soon shown for the make-believe that it is.
So yes, do have in mind why you are practicing a method of meditation. Do keep in mind the direction that you are going. We need to make sure that we are staying on course. But I would encourage you to put aside the shoulds as they pertain to your state of mind, when they arise. The mind will do what it will do based upon habits, sounds, images and experiences that it has encountered over time. And again with time the mind can be trained to not be dragged along by distracting or unhelpful states of mind.
I am neither better nor worse for what arises in my mind. I must allow it to be, acknowledge it and to the best of my ability let it go. No doubt it will arise again, and again I recognize its presence and allow it to go. Trying to force a state of mind out of the picture will only see it pop up again later, somewhere else.
When the mind is quieter, when the distraction lessens, then one can focus more clearly on the job in hand. And with time the mind will change. You are creating new habits, new patterns and with time they will result in a changing of your mind.
One just needs patience to follow the instruction.