Thoughts Are Not The Enemy

A common conversation we have at The Nurtured Mind:

Us: We’re involved in researching meditation. We also run guided sessions in a really lovely space!”
Friend: “Oh, meditation- I tried that. I couldn’t do it.”

We hear this from just about everyone new to meditation. And fair enough too. Often people new to this practice have certain ideas in mind of what ‘successful’ meditation looks like: sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, seemingly serene and free of thoughts, maybe even with beams of light shooting out of their heads while they float effortlessly one meter above the ground. Well friends, this imagery is a far cry from the reality of meditation. Especially when you are a beginner!

Although on the outside it may appear like the person meditating is calm and still (and even this takes time to develop) their mind is often a messy tangled web of thoughts and emotions.


We ask that beginners try and think of meditation as an incremental process – one of investigating your mind and changing the way you relate to your thoughts.

The struggle we face with meditation typically arises because our goals are misplaced. It’s easy to start thinking that the instructions for meditation are the goal of meditation. This is not the case. While we might aim to maintain focus on the breath, the goal is really to learn about our minds. We do this by setting up the conditions for thoughts to arise, and then observe them non-judgmentally.

So for example, if you start thinking about how annoying meditation is while you are meditating (yes, we are mind readers too) you might pause and think “hello frustration, it’s you again.” Leaning into your my annoyance and greeting it with an open curiosity, almost like you would greet an unannounced visitor at your front door.

Once we understand that thoughts are supposed to arise, and are actually necessary for meditation to be meaningful, we can begin to relax. With practice, we begin to realise that thoughts and emotions naturally arise and will naturally pass away. They don’t always need to be acted upon, and that they aren’t as “real” as they seem.

We can start to liken our thoughts to weather changes seen in the sky above us. Sometimes the sky will be sunny, sometimes it’ll be cloudy and raining. We don’t analyse how to change a rainy sky into a sunny sky. We have an explicit understanding: what the sky does on any given day is completely beyond our control. All we can do is go about our business until the sky changes. Knowing all the while that the sky will change. There is no doubt about that.

Why not take this very moment to do a “temperature check” on what your experiencing right now. How are you feeling in this moment? What thoughts are present? How does your body feel? Are you present and fully aware in this moment of your life or are you preoccupied with past or future events? Remember, there’s no need to judge or try and change your experience in any way. Just being aware is more than enough.

For more insight regarding meditation and how to make it an easy and enjoyable part of your everyday existence, click here to contact us.




Curiosity Saved The Cat

“It’s hard for people to think, that’s why they judge.” -Carl Jung

If there’s a single mindset that can work against you establishing a regular meditation practice- being overly judgmental is it.

When we judge we are essentially telling ourselves ‘Yep, I’m the oracle of knowledge on this. Full stop. All other theories be gone’. Although such self righteousness might leave us feeling empowered in the short term, the depth of life experience we allow ourselves to encounter is greatly diminished. We can judge things quite easily as humans. It’s how our brains are wired. Like an evolutionary hangover, somewhere in our mind the message: ‘Anything I don’t recognise immediately could be a great woolly mammoth!’ rings loud and true. So we jump to our own imaginary rescue. We promptly decide that X is X and Y is Y. No if’s but’s or maybe’s. The wooly mammoth has been identified… next problem please.

Be curious, it is the antidote for judgement.

Being forever curious is much like living your life the way a scientist explores the world. Scientists observe the world, developing theories that could explain their observations. Then they develop experiments designed to test these theories. Often, these theories are wrong. Great, this is the aim! If a theory is proven correct, nothing has been learned and the whole PURPOSE of the scientific method IS TO LEARN. This has nothing to do with proving you’re right. Think about it, suppose I say mixing the colours blue and red will make the colour purple. We run the experiment and it turns out I’m right. What now??
Scientists live with the endless possibility that future experiments could prove their current theories wrong. They hold their current theories very loosely. By adopting this mindset they are open to discover what they do not yet know or understand with the awareness that the next experiment (question) may prove everything they thought they understood to be completely wrong. How exciting!