Yes, yes, yes! When you meditate, you release stress. When stress comes out of your body it drags the mind to the surface and thoughts come. That’s a good thing—better out than in. If you have a thought-filled meditation, that means good repair work is happening. And so after the session you have a clearer, calmer mind.
Yes! Your mantra is becoming more subtle. Maybe it’s a faint idea at the beginning and then you don’t think the mantra again for a long time. This is fine. As long as you begin with the intention to think the mantra, you’re meditating correctly. It doesn’t matter how often you lose it. And if you’re not sure you remember your mantra correctly, this is also good. Don’t try to pronounce it clearly—a faint idea is enough.
When you plan your meditation, it’s much more likely to happen. The best time to make the plan is when you come out of your morning meditation. “What do I have on today? When do I have a gap?” Pick a time and commit to it. Then when the moment comes, keep the appointment with yourself, sit down and do it.
A couple more things: You don’t need silence to meditate. Experiment. Try doing it somewhere new—public transport, a cafe, the church around the corner from work, that quiet(ish) room at the gym. As a last resort—the loo!