Some people say that that they can’t meditate because their mind wanders too much. But this is normal for everyone. The brain is actually hardwired to wander. There is an interconnected network of brain regions that becomes active when the mind is at rest and it is called the Default Mode Network (DMN) When activated, the DMN scans the future for problems and reviews the past. It actually plays an important survival function: keeping us safe, creating a sense of self and creative problem solving.
When we focus on something, the DMN settles down. Research on the brain has shown that mindfulness meditation deactivates the DMN during meditation and afterwards in daily life. And the more we practice, the easier it is for the brain to disengage from the DMN. In fact, through regular mindfulness and self-compassion practice, we start to rewire the brain and create a new default mode. A mindful, less reactive, more compassionate one.
So when the mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath using the same kindness you would offer to a small child or a pet that wandered off. Over and over again. This is mindfulness practice.