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My Meditative Moments

Some Common Meditation Distractions

by meditative - March 29th, 2010.
Filed under: Introductory Readings.

“We need a cup of understanding… a barrel of love… and an ocean of patience”. ~ St. Francis de Sales

When beginning the practice of meditation, the most common distraction is the “wandering mind”.This is where the mind keeps drifting off. In your practice, simply allow whatever physical sensations (i.e. tingling, pressure, hot, cold, pain, etc.), thoughts or feeling arise to come into your awareness. Don’t resist them.The more you try to resist or erase them, the more they come rushing in. Simply think of them as waves on an ocean, or clouds in the sky. Don’t chase them. Simply allow them to be… Witness how they come and go, and how you connect with them in your conscious awareness.

An optional aid would be to note or name them. For e.g.“itching”,“throbbing”,“pressure”, thinking”, “doubting”, “remembering”, etc. If this “naming” or “noting” becomes a distraction, then stop using it. The idea is to acknowledge your sensations, thoughts or feelings without breaking your continuity of attention… one pointedness.

Besides the wandering mind, there is also the “wanting mind”.“If only”… I were more comfortable… it was cooler or warmer… I were in a better position, or in a better relationship. Self-gratification is a self-perpetuating cycle of “wanting”, satisfying the want, emptiness, and more want. The “force” of wanting may arise from time to time. See it for what it is. Sense the energy, and like the wandering mind, acknowledge it. You don’t need to react. Simply rest in just knowing.

Other distractions might include the resisting, doubting, and judging minds.Aversion or fear may arise in your practice. “I cannot do this”. “I am not doing this right.” “I can’t be here”. Again, simply acknowledge these states of mind. Torpor or laziness of mind may occur. Sometimes this will be sleepiness especially when the body is tired. One-pointed concentration will take practice and discipline. For most of us,we are used to a mind which is often on auto pilot. If you find yourself tired when meditating- you may need to open your eyes, take some deeper breaths, and/or sit up straighter.

Whatever the distractions, allow them to happen and open into your practice. Simply witness & let them go. If you become distracted try refocusing with your breath by counting 1-10 with the number on the exhale. Adopt a mantra (i.e. sacred/cosmic word or sound) like… Think less and be more! A distraction cannot be if you choose not to indulge.

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