Can I pause meditating and write something down?

Thoughts come and go while we're meditating and sometimes a great insight or idea come up! There are a couple ways of working with this.

  • One is to allow yourself to write things down occasionally if you remember something really important.
  • Another is to intentionally not write it down in service of staying with the meditation.

Both techniques are ways of helping you stay present with the meditation but if you get too into writing everything down, you can see how it might become a distraction. And if you tell yourself you can never write anything down, then that could also become a distraction because you'll be worrying about the things you might forget. There's no right or wrong answer for this so do what seems best in the moment, just see if you can make a mindful choice instead of ''instinctively" grabbing your pen to write something down or "forcing yourself" to keep meditating.

It also might be helpful to put things in perspective when you remember something important that you need to get to. How important is this, really? What would the consequences be if you neglected it for longer, or forgot about it entirely? We often hold ourselves to pretty high standards when it comes to getting back to people in a timely manner, or getting things done on time. Sometimes there are real consequences to missing something but often it's our own sense of guilt or feeling out-of-control that's happening.

Try this next time you have the urge to write something down in the middle of a meditation. Check in with what emotions are happening for you in that moment. Is there fear or anxiety? What does it feel like in your body? What exactly are you worried about? Regardless of whether or not you write it down, see if you can first connect with the emotions that are underlying the experience and the feelings in your body. And see if you can do that with self-care and curiosity.

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