How to master the art of focus using meditation
Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.
Focus from distractions is an essential tool that can be cultivated during meditation.
We often get asked,
How does it work, do you just sit still with your eyes closed and not think about anything?
Meditation is not so much the practice of “not thinking about a thing” because guess what?
That’s almost impossible.
Even the most experienced practitioners will tell you that it is virtually impossible to have long periods of times without a thought popping into your mind.
So, you may ask, if the thoughts are still coming in any way, what are we actually doing when meditating?
Primarily, we’re practising the art of not reacting to our thoughts.
We’re developing an ability to merely notice them for what they are and letting them go as quickly as possible without responding so that we can shift our focus back to the intended object of our attention (an object, a sound, a word a mantra or our own breath).
This sounds like a simple practice, and in fact, it is.
But it’s also SO powerful that before you know, it will permeate every aspect of your life: imagine what your life would be like if you were able to NOT react to what happens around you day in and day out.
If you were able to witness your reality with a sense of detachment that allowed you to have a clear and objective perspective most (if not all) the time: how much more productive would you be?
How much more would you notice that you currently miss because you’re too unclose and involved?
How much less energy would you expend worrying, getting upset, overthinking and overanalysing?
We often think of meditation as a practice for monks or yogis: something for people who like to live away from the real world or for people who don’t have to deal with the day to day struggles we all face.
Fortunately, this preconception is slowly fading away, and we’re starting to realise that actually, we all would benefit from the practice and even more so if we lead hectic lives that inevitably lead to more stress and anxiety.
Here’s the thing: the worse thing you can do with your negative thoughts is to entertain them; if a negative thought enters your mind and you start grappling with it, analysing, dissecting it or even try to push it away essentially what you’re doing is prolonging its duration.
On the other hand, if you simply notice it, almost as if you were an outsider peeking into your own mind, and just let it go, it will last half the time or less and will consume WAY less of your mental energy.
The art of not reacting to our own thoughts sounds simple enough but actually takes time to develop:
Try sitting down in a quiet place at least once a day even if just for a few minutes to begin with.
Then focus all your attention on a single object. Your mind will wander but just bring it back when you notice!
Only by practising this consistently will we slowly be able to develop the habit of finding peace in such a chaotic world!
The things that trouble our spirits are within us already. In meditation, we must face them, accept them, and set them aside one by one.
– Cristopher L Bennett