I wish I had a luscious weekend retreat for every time I have heard the above quote (I'd be on holidays forever!), or some variation of it, such as: "I can't sit still", "My mind is too busy" or "I have too many thoughts to meditate".
Through popular media and many meditation teachings, we have received the message that meditation has a goal and that is a quieter mind. Apparently thoughts are undesirable and in meditation we should avoid, subvert or release them.
Who gave us these rules? And why do we abide by them when we head into our private inner space?
It breaks my heart when I hear people denying themselves the restful, healing, revitalising, and nourishing practice of meditation because of some idea that we have to be somebody or something other than ourselves when we meditate. There is no reason that we cannot think thoughts. Did you know that thoughts, along with emotions, memories, fantasies and feelings are all part of meditation?! And the skills of meditation do not mean denying, ignoring or shaming any parts of ourselves. The techniques of meditation for people who live and love in the world include welcoming and inviting all of our experiences - including our senses, sensations, emotions and instincts - to the internal party of meditation.
There are as many techniques for meditation as there are stars in the sky, and yet just a few have been popularised. When those few common techniques don't suit our particular lifestyle or individual constitution, many of us, sadly, give up on mediation. We blame ourselves rather than the technique (we are such good-natured souls) for our inability to meditate in that particular way.
The good news is, there are meditation doorways that will lead each and every one of us into the sanctuary of our inner space. The beauty of meditation, the astounding fact of the matter is, that in meditation, as in no other aspect of our lives, we can be completely and totally who we are. Sometimes we need a bit of coaching about how to be welcoming, loving and inviting to all that is us. But the rewards are far reaching and effects all aspects of our lives.