I have been reading chapter 4 of my Mindfulness for Health book by Vidyamala Burch (read the reviews here) about how our mind wanders whilst we try to meditate and why it does the same when we are in pain. If we try to force the mind to be still it will kick and resist and we get exhausted by the struggle, if however we let it roam and follow it with our awareness, it will settle down of it’s own accord. Our minds struggle as we oppose it, if we are patient and focus our awareness in the minds struggle, then it will become calm. We can then refocus on the breath or body and the mind starts to get curious about the object of you refutation. It will become gently calm, yet alert and vibrant.
The other reason why our minds refuse to settle, especially if our bodies are in pain or highly stressed while we meditate. It is natural for the mind to avoid unpleasant sensations in the body. It will want to distract especially after chronic pain sufferers are told ‘keep yourself busy, and distract yourselves’ only to stop and be in agony!! We try to avert the pain. Pay attention to your thoughts, see how it bounces around and drags up past troubling memories and then exploits them in the future, creating stress and anxiety. Just notice them and give these thoughts and feelings names, but not judging them and then coax your mind back to the breath or your body and continue meditating.