The biggest mistake in meditation is trying to control or stop the thoughts instead of just watching them.
Meditation is non-doing.
A person desiring passionately to succeed in meditation ( and so making a lot of effort) is his own enemy.
So, enter into meditation with no expectations.
When there are no expectations, every meditation will be different and spiritually beneficial.
When you enter into meditation with expectations of certain results, meditation will not happen.
There is a beautiful story of Buddha, which teaches this subtle fact.
Story of Buddha, Anand, and the dirty water.
Once Buddha was traveling with his closest follower, Anand.
It was hot, and at some point, Buddha got thirsty.
He told Anand,” Anand, can you get me some water?”
Anand said enthusiastically,” Sure, Buddha, anything for you. We just passed a stream couple of miles back. I’ll go and get the water for you.”
And he left.
He came back in due time but had not brought the water.
Buddha asked,” Why, what happened? No water?”
Anand replied,” No, looks like a bullock cart had just passed through that stream, so the water was dirty and filled with leaves, and I’d not bring you such water.
I even tried to remove the dirt and leaves, etc., which were floating in the stream, but it made it even worse. “
Buddha said,” You should have waited there. It’s not the nature of water to be dirty. Go back, stay there, and let me know what happens.”
Anand was not convinced, but he didn’t want to disobey Buddha either.
So, he went to the stream again.
He just waited on the bank of the stream, without doing anything, just kept watching.
Gradually he noticed that the water had actually started clearing up, and by not doing anything and waiting for 10-15 minutes, the water cleared up completely.
He got overjoyed.
He brought the water back to Buddha.
Buddha could see the joy on Anand’s face.
So, he asked Anand,” Why are you so happy?”
Anand said,” Because now I know why you sent me back there. Water is always pure, but dirt gets added to it.
Trying to remove the dirt makes it only worse.
The best solution is to wait.
If you exercise patience, the dirt will settle down by itself, and the true nature of the water ( purity ) will reveal itself.”
“Correct. The same thing is about the mind. Inside,’ we all are pure. The dirt comes to our minds from the outside.
If we keep on making efforts to remove this dirt, it only gets worse.
But if we deal patiently with the mind and wait and watch, little by little, dirt settles down, and the pure nature of consciousness reveals itself. “ Buddha said, and he added –
“ IT’S THE EFFORTS THAT TAKES
US AWAY FROM OUR TRUE NATURE.”
At the consciousness level, we are all pure.
The way to deal with the mind is to be effortless – non-doing.
You have to start meditation with acceptance of yourself as clean water right from the beginning.
Then the dirt of the mind will appear as a foreign substance.
And you have to meditate calmly on it, just as a witness.