You do not need to clear your mind.

About 3 months into my retreat in Burma, I went through a period of very intensive thinking, rumination and distracted mind.

My mind was ALL OVER the place. I couldn’t settle down. I would try to come back to the breath, but it was like a boomerang back to the thought of the moment.

I told my teacher my struggle. I told him how frustrated I was that I had been here for 3 months, practicing 14 hours a day, and my mind could STILL wander all over the place. How can I stop it?

He smiled at me, and said: “Your job is not to stop your mind from thinking, it’s simply to KNOW when your mind is thinking.”

This reminder was exactly what I needed to make friends with my mind.

Going from a place of trying to stop thought to a place of just seeing it when it’s there was the very thing that pacified my mind, and only when I became ok with the thoughts did they start to subside.

You don’t need to clear your mind. You just need to know when your mind is thinking. That awareness is the mechanism for freedom.

Thoughts will always be there. You must learn to be ok with them, to hold them in awareness, and just watch the show.