In a teaching given on December 30th, 2018, Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche, Founder and Spiritual Director of Pristine Mind Foundation, answers a common question about meditation: what do we do when thoughts arise? When we get lost, how do we come back?

Thoughts Arising in Meditation

Thoughts arising is normal. It is not good or bad. It happens for everyone. When thoughts come up and distract us, we simply need to come back to our meditation. If we are meditating on an object, then we just come back to the object of our meditation. If we are meditating in Pristine Mind, we come back to Pristine Mind.

Everybody gets lost during meditation. The key is to be aware and to notice that you have become lost or distracted and come back. Getting lost and coming back is actually what meditation is. You get lost and you come back. You wander after a train of thought for a moment and then you come back. You may get a little drowsy and then you come back. That is the normal process of meditation.

The more you meditate, the more the gap between getting lost gets wider. The more the gap between those interruptions expands, the less that mental events interfere with your experience of the present moment and the more tranquil and clear your mind becomes.