Do you find during meditation that thoughts enter your mind which distracts your meditative focus? If so, you are not alone. Anybody who has tried meditation has probably experienced this problem. While this is a common problem, if you want to get the most from your meditation you need to learn how to quiet your thoughts and maintain your focus. Read on and find some techniques which can help you to achieve a more focused meditative state.
Don’t place judgement on the thoughts
There are no bad or good thoughts in meditation. While it can be frustrating to have distracting thoughts enter your mind while you are trying to maintain meditative focus, this is simply a natural part of meditating. When a thought enters your mind observe that it has occurred but do not become annoyed with it. Instead simply allow the thought to drift back out of your mind. When we place a emotion on a thought it is like we are anchoring it to our mind. When we are non-judgemental about the thought it is much easier for it to simply float away.
Use meditation music
The sheer quietness of your meditation space may be enough to produce distracting thoughts. One way to overcome this problem is to use meditation music. Play the meditation music at a low volume in the background. This also has the advantage of creating a comfortable environment which is conducive to the meditation.
Focus on your breathing
When you find that distracting thoughts into your mind return your focus back to your breathing. You can choose to either follow your breathing naturally, simply observing it coming and and out of your body. Or alternatively you can use was it is called controlled breathing. This involves breathing through your nose for a set number of counts and then breathing out from your mouth for a number of breathes. Try breathing three times through the nose and then three times out through your mouth. Controlled meditative breathing is particularly effective if you have a sequence of thoughts you cannot seem to end.
Make a list of what needs to be done
When we are meditating one of the most common series of thoughts that will occur at things that you need to take care of. For example you might remember that you need to pick up your clothes from the drycleaner, put out the garbage tonight or complete a report that is due. We will often use the quiet time from meditation to try and organize these personal to-do lists. One way to overcome this problem is to write your to-do list on a piece of paper before you begin your meditative practice. Having this cleared out of your brain can help to ensure that it doesn’t come up during meditation. If you do think of something that you need to do during meditation, simply write down what is after the meditation has ended.
Choosing an isolated setting
While many of the thoughts that come to mind will be internal, external sounds and distractions can also cause thoughts to appear. If for example you hear a large bang outside your home you might start to wonder whether there has been a car accident, then you might worry that a member of your family has been involved or that damage has been done to your property. These distracting thoughts can ruin your meditative focus. To overcome this problem try to choose as isolated setting as possible for your meditation. Choose a quiet room where you will not be disturbed during the time that you are meditating. While we can’t control all sounds around us, minimizing these distractions can help to prevent thoughts from occurring.
Meditation is training the mind to focus
So my friends remember when distracting thoughts occur that is a natural part of the meditative process. Meditation is about training the mind to focus. In much the same way as we wouldn’t expect ourselves to be an expert golfer the first time we picked up a club, we should also not be disappointed that we haven’t yet mastered complete focus when we are only beginning. As you continue to practice meditation you will find that naturally become better at focusing your mind. You will be able to release thoughts more easily and regain your focus. Use the techniques mentioned above for focusing your thoughts but don’t be too concerned about this problem. The act of meditation itself will be enough to improve your focus over time.
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