Upcoming Thoughts
Thoughts are never your enemy. So please don’t fight with them or try to push them away. When a series of thoughts come and take you away, notice that you are not experiencing the feeling of Loving Kindness and making a wish for your own happiness. Then, simply let go of the thought. Even if you are in mid sentence, just let go of the thought, let it be there by itself. This is done by not continuing to think the thought no matter how important it seems at that time.

Notice Tension
Notice the tightness or tension in your head/mind, now relax. Feel the tightness open. Mind feels like it expands and relaxes. It then becomes very tranquil and calm. At this time there are no thoughts and mind is exceptionally clear and alert. Immediately, bring that mind back to your object of meditation; that is, the feeling of Loving Kindness and making a wish for your own happiness.

It doesn’t matter how many times your mind goes away and thinks about other things. What really matters is that you see that your mind has become distracted by a thought. The same method hold true even for any sensation or emotional feeling that pulls your attention to it, notice mind’s movement or distraction away from Loving Kindness and let it go. Then relax the tightness or tension in your head/mind and softly redirect your calm attention back to the object of meditation.

Strength Awareness
Every time you let go of a distraction or make a wish for your happiness, relax the tightness caused by mind’s movement and redirect your tranquil attention back to the feeling of being happy. You are strengthening your mindfulness (awareness). So please don’t criticize yourself because you think that you should do better or that your thoughts, sensations and emotional feelings are the enemy to be squashed and destroyed.

These kinds of critical, hard-hearted thoughts and feelings contain aversion and aversion is the opposite of the practice of Loving Kindness Acceptance. Loving Kindness and Loving Acceptance are different words that say basically the same thing. So please be kind to yourself. Make this a fun kind of game to play with, not of an enemy to fight with.

The importance of relaxing the tightness or tension after every thought, sensation or emotional feeling can’t be stated enough. When you let go of this tightness you are letting go of craving. It is very important to understand this, because craving is the cause of all suffering. This tightness or tension is where our wrong idea about ego-identification is.

Bhante Vimalaramsi