Q: I'm not a "good" meditator. My mind keeps jumping around. What can I do?
A: Other than perhaps some monks living in the Himalayan caves, none of us are "good" meditators. That is, if a "good" meditation means that the mind is completely blank and no thoughts occur, or that you're completely aware of your connection with the entire Universe in every cell of your being the whole time.
The brain thinks, and thank God for that! Like it or not, our egos separate. Without this we'd be unable to function in society. I have read many accounts of some great sages and monks regarding their own meditation practice. Everyone seems to have times where there is a distraction (physical or mental) that keeps tempting the mind. The key is to not judge it or label it. (Some schools of thought advocate labeling, but I have found that more distracting.)
Think of your meditation as a practice for life. Just as your mind may be loud and trying to pull you in different directions, life can feel chaotic and demanding at times. A centered person is able to resist constantly get caught up in life's activities. They are able to enjoy all that happens while maintaining an inner knowing that there is connection and an underlying source behind all that we experience. Your meditation is a practice of consciously connecting to, or feeling, this source. It's a remembering of who you really are.
One of the keys to meditation is choosing an object to focus on that works for you. A typical place to start is to focus on the breath. Some people do better with a Yantra, Mantra, a physical statue to gaze upon, visualization, or even an idea (such as love or oneness). If you have used various objects, but the thoughts are stronger and keep bringing you away from your focus, then it might be time for a different approach.
Imagine that you are seated in the middle of your brain. As thoughts come in and "jump" about, watch them. Don't try to fight them or stop them. Stay focused on observing them. Like a loving parent watching over their children. YOU are the parent--the observer. Thoughts are NOT you. They are energy, but they do not define who you are. Thoughts are like children. You stay seated, while they run about. If a thought grabs you and pulls you down a long train of thoughts, this is like the child grabbing the parent's hand and pulling them along. Lovingly and without judgement, You return to the center. This is the practice.
Just as the Hatha Yogi doesn't do good or bad--they go to where they're at that day and work from there. Same thing when meditating. The Mediator, or Raja Yogi, doesn't do good or bad--they go to where they're at that day and work from there.
To enjoying where you're at,
Today is the first day of the rest of your life!