During meditation, everyone’s mind wanders occasionally.
Or maybe persistently.
It happens, it’s perfectly natural, and it can drive you a bit crazy when you want to settle down for some quiet time and meditation.
There are several reasons why you might become distracted, depending on what’s on your mind, level of stress, and the nature of your thoughts.
Makes sense, right?
Well, here are…
4 Ways we get distracted… and what to do about it
The first reason could be aversion.
This could be aversion to the meditation or to something else — it could come in the form of anger, frustration (possibly with the meditation?), judgment, fear, a sense of negativity and not wanting to be in this situation, almost refusing to be.
Really, the only cure for this is to reverse it.
Even if you have to pretend, put on your best Oscar-winning performance and allow your mind for a second, to think what it would be like to have loving thoughts for the situation. It will feel fake, because it is, but over time, it will learn to be real.
Another distraction could be restlessness.
We’ve all experienced this. Particularly if you’re the type of person who thrives on ‘doing stuff.’ If you love working, love deadlines and must always be on the go, then restlessness is not your friend.
The way to combat this sensation is to bring your awareness to the breath, start to take longer deeper inhales and exhales, and each time you feel restless or jittery, continue to bring your mind back to the breath. Soften the jaw and allow the body to go limp. Look into doing a progressive-body relaxation, starting from the crown of the head and allowing the relaxation to melt through all parts of the body.
Allowing the body to become calm and still will also affect the mind in the same way.
A distraction which affects us all from time to time is desire.
This can be in the form of want, lust, greed, day-dreaming about a friend, colleague, a job, a meal, or a better future.
This can be great for goal-setting or ambition, but not great for sitting in the present moment and becoming mindful. The way to cure this is to simply commit to holding what is presently there.
If you find this difficult begin to recommit with values, affirmations and reminding you of being mindful of the present.
Similar to aversion, is a sense of doubt or hesitation.
A disbelief in yourself, a mindset which can focus on our insecurities, or our regrets in life. If this continues, it can manifest in suffering, and can be easy to convince ourselves of.
The way to overcome this is to take action when you are struck with inspiration, have confidence in yourself.
Easier said than done, but definitely worth a shot.
Stick with it
There are so many different ways in which our meditation can be disturbed, and our peaceful mind states can be interrupted. Some or all of these may resonate with you, but there are simple ways to bringing the mind back to a calmer, more peaceful state.
Don’t give up.
We all get distracted from time to time… after all we’re human. So the key to maintaining your daily practice is to cut yourself some slack and stick with it.