my mind wanders a lot. so it’s really difficult for me to stay focused when meditating. I tried to meditate for twenty minutes today, and I couldn’t do it for that long because my mind kept wandering off.
what could I do to keep my mind focused? I try to focus on my breath.

6 Comments

  • When I did Transcendental Meditation – many years ago – I found it impossible to ’empty the mind’ totally for more than a couple of minutes.
    The human mind is ‘active’ – on both conscious and sub-conscious levels – and in all truth I reckon it’s well nigh impossible to remain in a state of of ‘suspended animation’ for more than a few minutes, whatever the gurus or yogis claim.
    (Any other ‘altered state’ is indistinguishable from being asleep – and we know that even when asleep, dreams come upon us, as the the never-sleeping subconscious occasionally bursts through. Not that we remember most of them,)
    Mantras and concentration on breathing – the regular workings of our automatic system which we can slow down, help to lull us into a relaxed state – and then meditate on no thing.
    Which of course is an oxymoron – since meditation is more to do with NOT thinking. Or being ‘focused.’

    But there’s nothing wrong with having a 20 minute session – in which thoughts will inevitably spring to mind – but you can gently, calmly, wrap them up in butterfly gossamer wings and let them fly away from the deeper recesses of your mind – so that you can return to the inky blackness of thoughtlessness.

    It might happen 10 times – but so what ?
    Who’s counting ?

  • It is different for everyone, but here are a few tips that I have found helpful when it comes to focusing:

    Pick an object, just one object. It can be a fixed object, or even a moving object. The one I find most useful is the image of a single balloon floating upward into the sky. Another option is to focus on your breathing. Inhale, exhale – get yourself into a rhythm. Sometimes a mantra, such as “om,” is useful if you say it slowly, almost humming it; you can focus on the sound.

    As long as you have the time to spare, I would give yourself at least 30 minutes to begin with. Don’t give up. Again, if you have the time, keep trying until you achieve that focus, then simply allow yourself to stay there for as long as possible.

    One thing that may help you is to think of it not as a chore or a difficult task but more as the relaxation of mind it is meant to be. Many people – westerners especially – when first getting acquainted with meditation, say, “I just have to sit there and not think about anything for a whole hour? But that’s so hard!” or something of that nature. What is truly hard is constantly running around and thinking about – even sometimes overthinking – every little thing that pops up. Your mind needs and wants an occasional break. You just have to make the time to let it have it. Instead of thinking of meditation as a constant struggle to force “nothing” into your head, think of it as just allowing every bothersome thought to slip away. Relax yourself.

    The usual goal is to remove all thoughts from your mind for that time, but if you still find yourself struggling, then let the thoughts stay, but only the positive and neutral ones. Thoughts that make you feel good or feel nothing at all. The second you bump into a negative thought, forget about it; don’t allow it to take over. Keep that positive energy flowing.

    Hope this helps you. Good luck! This is supposed to be healthy and fun, not a chore.

  • Determination and Practice, practice, practice, ……. that is the only way to keep the mind focused. “Abhyasenacha kountheya vairagyena….” is the advise in Gita.
    If you can shut your eyes and focus your mind in the middle of your eyebrows for 2 minutes, that is enough.

  • What Anthony said. A lot of it just takes time and patience. Start with 5 minutes, and keep going a little longer each time. After a while, you will have disciplined your mind and things will be easier.

    Just realize that it takes a while. Don’t get discouraged in the meantime.

  • make your meditation times shorter to start off with then build your way up to 20 minutes, it will help you with the discipline you will need to garner before you have the focus.

    You could start at like 10 minutes at a time for 2 weeks then add a minute or 2 as time progresses.

    Good luck

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