Apparently, like me, you have trouble shutting off the flow of your thoughts.
The idea is not to shut off the flow of thoughts; it's way too difficult for a beginner. The idea for beginners is "to center your mind on a single point of thought" One good method is "close your eyes and smile" Drop your prejudice (if any) and try it.
An extra piece of advice I received from my instructor Mr.Zhou Jingxuan when I was learning gongfu in Tianjin. I'm rather clueless about the reason for this, but I just pass it down. According to him, you should always be facing east when doing any kind of meditation/neigong exercise. South is acceptable too, but north and west should be avoided. Don't ask
It is an ancient Chinese belief that evil or evil forces are found or originate from the north and that the west is the dwelling paradise of the gods and an old chinese euphemism for death is to ascend the 'western paradise'
I always face north or south to take advantage of the earth's north/south flow of magnetic forces.
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.