Multi-Tasking While Meditating

by Charlie Day

Meditator Jan Gipple from Des Moines, IA, writes: "My mind keeps going on a dual track while I'm sitting -- multi-tasking, meditating and thinking on two different channels. It's as if one brain compartment feels free to think and another wants to meditate. The meditating compartment keeps allowing the thinking compartment to run amuck. Any ideas?"

My response: It just appears that you're multi-tasking, Jan. According to Buddha, consciousness can have only one object at a time but it works so fast that it feels like we are doing things simultaneously. You're just observing the rapidity with which your mind is working without realizing that attention is actually shifting nanosecond to nanosecond from object to object.
Intention and mindfulness are evident when you're aware that the primary focus is on the breath and thinking thoughts and other sense impressions are happening in the background. Just keep your intention strong, and accept whatever the mind does, focusing and refocusing on the breath and letting go of thoughts, including any about multi-tasking, whenever you become aware/mindful that thinking has become stronger than experiencing the breath. Observe, be mindful of, and accept without judgment what the mind does. After all, it has already done what it does when you become aware of it, and there is nothing you can do about the past. Just keep the intention strong, be mindful, and accept that "what is, is," even while meditating. Peace, Charlie (, 515-255-8398)