Okay, so, thoughts are the problem. There’s no question about that. Thoughts are your jailer, but I want to make this as simple as I can. What gives thoughts their energy is your emotional attachment to them. So the practice during meditation is not to try to stop thinking. That’s impossible, at least directly. The practice during meditation is to lose your emotional attachment to thoughts. Then the mind as a whole begins to quiet, and then thoughts dissolve into “flowers.”
The mythological temptations of the Buddha are metaphorical for the psychological temptations of your thoughts to move you emotionally.
So here’s the practice: You’ve got your mantra, you breathe in, you breathe out, and now here comes a thought. What do you do? You don’t try to make it go away. That’s fighting. That’s giving the thought even more energy, and causing the mind to be even more turbulent.
You accept it emotionally. You face it, you don’t run from the thought. And you accept it. You don’t try to fight the thought. And then little by little, as you let go emotionally, you’ll notice a great peace come over you, and you’ll notice the thoughts don’t have control over you anymore. It almost becomes a game really. Okay mind, what are you going to tempt me with next? Something sexy? Something fearful or sad? Or guilt? Bring it on! And the mind is trying to throw you off the balance beam (ie, stop you from meditating) and it becomes fun to see how far you can go without it ‘knocking you down.’
And they (thoughts) begin to dissolve. Transcendence comes through.
Which is the beginning of an adventure.