Is there room for "should" in mindful meditations?
My answer is no. The folks writing at Quiet would agree with me.
Often, I meditate and find that my brain is more like this:
If you find your brain in a state of chaos, this does not mean your meditation was "bad." Your meditation is not good or bad. You should not expect to sit still or have a completely quiet mind or feel relaxed and calm. These are all good goals, but you will find them to be elusive at times. Having these expectations is the quickest way to derail your meditation practice. Sometimes (and maybe more often than not) you will find that the thoughts just keep coming or you feel anxious, frustrated, or sad. I often reflect on my meditation and think, "wow, my mind was very busy today." BUT, instead of labeling that experience as bad, I just reflect on how it went and move on, begin again. You can apply this lesson to your experience during your meditation as well. Try to avoid getting frustrated with yourself if your mind is jumping from place to place during your meditation. Simply notice the quality of the mind, notice the experience in that moment, notice your thoughts. The great lesson of mindfulness and meditation is that we can always begin again, from breath to breath, moment to moment, and day to day. You have the power to find the space to notice what is happening in the present moment and choose to begin again.