Meditation Tip - What to Do When Your Mind Drifts

Ping, ping, ping! You hear that? It’s your mind - it’s a pinball machine.

You maybe haven’t noticed it until you sat down in silence to observe but your mind is like a pinball machine…

The balls (thoughts) start firing out without you knowing anything about it.

Then they start whizzing all over the place setting off bells, flashing lights and spinning things.

Meanwhile, you are sat meditating watching all this wondering if you should rush yourself off to the nearest psych ward.

Welcome to your mind, the crazy pinball machine…

The good news is;

You are not your mind.

Hopefully this will become clear to you as you sit and observe the thing.

You never asked it to start firing out all these balls!

All you need to know is;

This is just what the mind does.

It gets off on firing balls all over the place, flashing lights and trying to get a high score.

Now yes -

when you’re sitting there trying to focus on the breath and all this is going on it’s not surprising you can’t help but get involved.

Some here cometh the tips;

#1. Don’t play the game. Let the mind do it’s pinball thing while you “sit back” and observe.

#2. Don’t try and stop the balls (you won’t be able to).

#3. Don’t follow the balls (this will send you into a mental tailspin and 10 minutes down the line you’ll come out the other side and realize you were just following a ball around the pinball machine)

So the very fact you are aware that the mind drifts off is great - you must have been observing this to recognize it.

If you find yourself trying to stop or follow the balls then just bring your attention back to the breath - counting breaths upto twenty and then repeating this can help (if you lose track you know you’re back playing pinball again).

And lastly - go easy on yourself…

What you’re experiencing is completely natural and nothing out of the ordinary so don’t beat yourself up.


- Mike Cheney