Last week, I attended a vinyasa yoga session (more on that later) to stretch my muscles and clear my mind from the daily doubts that plague my thinking process. I’ve been told before that I live in my head too much and need to take time just to live life in the present. As I struggled to shut out lingering concerns on my recent life transitions, moving to a new country, and the future in general, I had to reflect upon the purpose of meditation: clearing the mind to focus on what’s happening within and around us.
Buddhist teacher David Nichtern recommends the following steps for people struggling with focus during meditation:
1. Place our awareness on our breath.
2. Recognize what arises in our minds — without trying to manipulate, judge or suppress anything.
3. Simply see what arises in our mind as it comes up. Just notice it.
4. Then let go of the thoughts and return our awareness to the breath thereby coming back to the present moment.
It’s easy to give up on meditation when your mind doesn’t mute itself upon command. However, the tips above will make your practice grow in power, if you indeed practice meditating consistently.
For all of the meditation pros…what do you recommend to quiet the mind during meditation? Share your thoughts.