If you practice mindfulness, you might understand what is meant by not scratching an itch. When witnessing your thoughts and feelings, you detach from them. To reach this state, you need to overcome the urge to engage with sensations or your internal voice.
Your senses are heightened for a while as you begin meditating. The quietness and lack of the need to do anything as you sit mean you turn your attention inwards. You notice aches and pains and other feelings. If you attend to these sensations, though, you become attached to them. As such, you are no longer mindfully observing.
Witness the itch
Many beginners to mindfulness imagine they need to ignore thoughts and feelings. Doing so increases their awareness of the areas they want to perceive lightly. The first step to detaching is to allow yourself to notice what’s occurring. Have no resistance to the happenings of your mind and body, but know they are not you.
Understanding you are separate aids the realization there’s no need to attend to what you notice. After all, if you observed a cloud moving across the sky, you wouldn’t feel the need to push it along. You understand clouds pass without help. Like clouds, your thoughts and physical sensations will leave without you doing anything.
Doing nothing can seem harder than taking action. You know how to get up and move, but remaining still might be an alien concept. Until you are an experienced meditator, learning to do so is like lying awake at night. Unless you fall asleep quickly, your attention moves inwards. You become aware of concerns in your mind and body. If you attend to them by focusing on them, you can’t sleep. Likewise, you can’t practice mindful meditation if you concentrate on what you don’t want in your awareness.
Fill your mind
To be mindful, you need to fill your mind. It might be full of observing thoughts as they come and go, or, you can focus on a subject. Many mindfulness meditations begin with the observance of breath. You can notice other sensations, but keep returning your attention to the process of inhaling and exhaling.
As you concentrate on your breath, the urge to scratch an itch or pay attention to a thought will lift. At the same time, practicing will train your mind to choose where to focus. You’ll no longer be at the mercy of inner chatter or outside circumstances since you will be in control.
Learning to be mindful can be difficult. Once you experience consciousness as an observer, though, your perception will alter. You’ll be able to detach from any situation you want to witness with clarity.