Simon Tugwell: "Thoughts are a bit like spoilt children..."

Speaking on meditative, repetitive, prayer:

"Of course, it is unlikely that we shall actually find ourselves totally devoid of thoughts! But in this kind of prayer the thoughts simply do not matter. Ignore them, and just get on with saying the prayer. Let them chatter away, accept them in the same way that you can accept any other kind of disturbance, without anxiety, without trying to suppress it, without even latching on to the desire to suppress it or even to the thought 'I am being disturbed'. Just let it be. As likely as not, without any deliberate intention on your part, you will actually find yourself chasing the first thought with a second one, such as 'I must stop this - I'm not supposed to be thinking.' That easily leads to an infinite regression, one thought trying to catch another. there is no need to take any notice of any of them! Thoughts are a bit like spoilt children trying to attract attention to themselves. If you ignore them, refusing to be distracted by them, then sooner or later they will get bored and go away."

Simon Tugwell, Prayer in Practice

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