In zen meditation, they say that you should “surf” on your thoughts and not eliminate them, but I can’t understand the difference.

Mark U.
Surfing your thoughts is a lot like channel surfing; your mind is jumping from thought to thought. This means you’re not eliminating your thoughts, but rather focusing on different ones.

Regina B.
The difference is subtle, and from my experience, can best be learnt by patient practice. Eliminating thoughts is already "doing". It results in a state of stress that LOOKS like a calm mind, but actually it's the opposite. You have a very polarized stance – the thoughts are unwanted, calm is wanted. The "correct" way is to aim towards calm, but not strive… Makes sense?

Kenzi Z.
What they mean is ride the thought as it comes in and as it goes instead of being angry and trying to force it to go away. What you resist persists, as they say. So here’s a thought and let it go by like a cloud. Some people like to say thinking, thinking. Some people might think of another and then let them both go. It’s a process, A practice the only way to lose is to give up.

Inaya U.
I find that in my meditation sessions, the instructor uses a more helpful analogy- he calls it noting. The way I understand his technique is to pretend it is a bubble (imagine blowing bubbles using those bubble wand toys) each thought is a bubble and rather than “surfing” the thought, instead just label the bubble/thought as a thinking or feeling and then imagine the bubble floating up and seeing it pop….so you’ve acknowledged the thought, labeled it, and moved on to the next bubble/thought that may come along. Hopefully I’m making sense.

Priteche C.
I think the idea behind surfing your thoughts is best described in an analogy.
Pretend that the ocean is your mind. A deep wast ocean holds many things, a lot of which is hidden deep down, but those thoughts come upon the shore of consciousness in waves. Often several waves crash all at once and we try to focus on them as they land, all at once.
When you meditate, you send your consciousness out onto the ocean and face one thought at a time like a surfer faces the waves, one at a time. As the waves pass us, we have acknowledged them so when they hit the shore, we have already taken the time needed to address the thought, problem, whatever it may be, and we can move on from it, not eliminate the thought, just move past it.

Valdemar G.
It’s like imagining you riding a wave whether you are bobbing up and down in the ocean with your body or laying on or standing up on a surf board. Your thoughts, like you are connected To the community around you and nature just as each one of the molecules of water are connected in the ocean- you and your thoughts are one with a greater reality. Embrace being one with all that is and as the waves come and go just observe them feel the swell of the wave, And observe how the wave of one thought is not permanent, it dissolves Into the greater body of all that is

Gregory J.
Acknowledging and accepting your thoughts is important, showing compassion and kindness to whatever your mind may wander to, accepting and owning your thoughts without pushing them away.

Olivia C.
I am not that clever on this subject, but I think it is about not using your focus on getting rid of them. If you focus on getting rid of them they will gain power and more thoughts will come. If you try to accept that they are there but don't give them any attention, they will "give up" and let you be more peaceful.

Pat A.
I guess that is a pretty abstract way of putting it. It’s more like this IMHO: once you realise you have got involved in a thought or thinking in general (i.e. that you’ve lost touch with the fact your meditating), gently bring your attention back to your breath. No need to get upset or disappointed or other negative feelings about yourself because we all have busy minds, some days more than others – so it’s normal to get distracted from our meditation. So basically, it’s like looking at your thoughts without getting involved in them.
A great read on this subject is Headspace by Andy Puddicombe. Excellent book, great guidance, and much better explanation than what I could give. HTH.

M Rcia S.
You surf on the thought in the sense that you notice it is there, and acknowledge its presence, and by acknowledging/noticing that you are thinking, guide yourself back to the breath/your meditation anchor.
Eliminating the thought is suppressing it, actively forcing yourself not to think, which is counterproductive. You surf the thought to get to your breath, but you don’t “drown it” by a forceful eliminating of the thought.

Oxana R.
It is okay that some thoughts appear during the meditation. But the main thing here is to get concentrated on the breathing, so you don't "eliminate" your thoughts, but get focused without it

Isabella E.
When I meditate snd a thought comes to me I don't try to "eliminate it " if I do that I would be clinging to my thought and then my focus and peace would be lost . Instead. If i understand that there will be thoughts and acept they sre there but don't judge them, that is like we surf on waves then they tend to dissipate and my calm is strengthen. I think that is the meaning of surfing on out thoughts.

Curt U.
They mean you should let thoughts come and go but not get hooked on any of them. I guess it’s less like catching a wave on a surf board and more like laying on your board waiting for the perfect wave to appear except you don’t want it to appear, you want to just sit and keep bobbling up and down on the waves around you not catching onto one in particular. So you’re not trying to stop the waves (thoughts) – that would be impossible. You’re just trying to ride them as they come and go without following one that would take you to shore.

Noelle P.
What that means is basically rather than trying to shut out all thoughts you have, you instead acknowledge the thoughts that you have, let them pass by and then return to being in the present moment. So instead of focusing on trying to fight away any thoughts you have, you focus on simply becoming aware of your thoughts instead.

Thomas O.
Acknowledge thy they are there and think of them as a river that you aren’t getting wet from— you’re not in the water you’re watching it— riding it

Herbert F.
The guy on Headspace talks about your consciousness being the blue sky and your thoughts the clouds that drift past. Surfing your thoughts would be the same as fixating on a cloud or clouds that drift past in the sky. It is about understanding the composition of your mind and working on seeing both your sky and your clouds- your consciousness and your thoughts and not letting fixation on your clouds/thoughts obstruct you from also seeing your sky/consciousness.

Debbie O.
I think that means you should notice your thoughts but not dwell on them too much. Some thoughts are just thoughts, they are not always how you really feel and they aren’t always true.