Talk 7: Chattering Thoughts and Loud Thoughts

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A Questioner asks: what’s going on with chattering little thoughts all the time while feeling the breath? Should we attend to these chattering thoughts? The practical answer to this question parallels the very purpose of meditation and the very meaning of freedom. This talk points in this direction even alongside the related issue of long, loud, troubling thoughts.

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  • Kelly Sheldrick

    I had this issue all the time, especially when attempting to meditate – the little voices in my head, or rather the chattering little thoughts – do I ignore them? Try and switch them off? Or do I listen? It’s good to know I’m not the only one in this situation, and it’s even better to hear your thoughts on the matter. Thanks.

    • AlanKlima

      Yeah most of the time it’s probably best to just ignore the little chattering thoughts and try not to see them as a problem. Instead, the emphasis can be on your object, like the breath or body sensations, whatever it is. A positive emphasis on just really feeling that, rather than an emphasis on “eliminating” thoughts. We don’t want to give them so much importance because that just gives them fuel. Later as we are more firmly established in that, sometimes it’s beneficial to make a note of your big long thoughts after they are over as a way to emphasize for ourselves the difference between attending to our object and a big ol’ distraction.

  • Nicolas Santelmo

    I still have this issue and have asked you a question in another comment Alan. Thanks again for your valuable guidance.

    • AlanKlima

      Hi Nicolas! As we get settled in at first with meditation we may like to try and get away from thoughts, and that can work sometimes, temporarily, but eventually we’ll need to go the next step, which is to begin to not place much importance in thought and not struggle against them. We can be peaceful even with lots of noisy thoughts. This is something to eventually discover and it is totally possible.

  • Katy Smith

    Thank you for addressing this question. This meditation really helped me focus on my breath and body instead of focusing on those nagging little thoughts.