Today’s meditation focused on using words to bring attention to the breath and perfect timing. It seems as though I had a movie of thoughts running in my head today while meditating. So when I added the words (I chose to stick with In and Out) I found the noise of my thoughts lessened. I couldn’t attend to the errant thoughts while thinking In and Out. It helped me regain my focus on the breath and through that focus my parade of thoughts disappeared.
Other times when I’ve used words in meditation it has been to move stray thoughts along. Someone suggested once that if I find myself focused on the thoughts I was having during meditation I should think – “Not now” and push that thought toward the stray thoughts. I realize that may sound weird – but it works for me when I’m doing a meditation of 20 minutes or longer. What have you tried?