Why Can't I Concentrate During Meditation?

This is a really important question. In this post we'll examine distractions as well as conditions that are conducive to meditation practice.

Always remember that the mind fluctuates just like moods. One moment it's sharply focused, the next moment it's dull; one moment it's motivated, the next moment it's bored; one moment it's sleepy, the next moment it's energized. This is the nature of the mind.

Let's take a close look at the most common distractions.

Distractions In Meditation

External distractions including noise, voices, good and bad smells, too hot or too cold and stuffy air, all draw your attention away from the meditation object. To minimize distractions, carefully select your meditation room and the time of the day to practice.

Imagine coming home from a stressful day at work. Your mind is racing and the body feels intensely alive. That is one of the worst times to meditate. Instead, lie down on your back and listen to some soothing nature sounds. Give them relaxed attention.

Excessive thinking is another distraction that is hard to overcome. Since thinking has a lot of momentum, it takes time for the mind to settle down. Likewise, whenever you are caught up in problem solving, rather listen to nature sounds than try to meditate.

It's virtually impossible to meditate while being irritated or angry. Therefore, it's vital to maintain your mental calm during meditation. By accepting every moment as it is, you won't react with irritation, anger or frustration. Another skillful approach is to give your meditation object gentle and caring attention. With a positive mindset, you are less likely to react with negative feelings and thoughts when your mind is unfocused.

Sleepiness makes it really hard to concentrate. It's better to take a short nap than to push yourself. At the same time as it's good to familiarize yourself with various mental states, don't waste hours meditating while sleepy.

Restlessness also makes it difficult to concentrate. One option is to practice walking meditation until the mind calms down. There is no need to control the walking speed, any pace that feels right will do.

Hunger and thirst are challenging distractions. Never eat large meals before meditating, find out what works for you. It's fine to keep a bottle of water next to your meditation place.

If you have a runny nose, meditate lying down on your back. Be really gentle on yourself whenever you are not feeling well. That means keeping the meditation sessions short and giving soft, relaxed attention to your meditation object.

Sexual desire has a strong pull which makes it tough to concentrate on your meditation object. Don't entertain sexual thoughts during practice. Once they have taken root, the mind is overtaken by pleasure.

Low motivation, laziness and an unwillingness to make effort are great obstacles to meditation practice. Find inspiration in meditation books and talks. Once you feel motivated, start to meditate. Discover what works for you.

Physical pain is another major distraction. Make yourself as comfortable as possible every time you meditate. Use pillows, cushions and blankets. It's natural to relax when lying down on your back. What is more, alternating between walking and sitting or lying down meditation, is an excellent way to alleviate the discomfort.

You may worry about being disturbed while meditating. This is as subtle as it is distracting. Locking the door and switching off your mobile phone are simple steps to do away with it.

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Conditions Conducive To Meditation

With its calming and balancing qualities, nature is most conducive to meditation practice. It can be in a park, along a stream, by the ocean, in the forest or the mountains.

Meditate in the mornings when the mind is fresh, just after waking up. 5-10 minutes of quality meditation is better than hours of idle practice.

Don't have any expectations on yourself. Rather, focus on doing your best.

Give relaxed attention to your meditation object. Don't try too hard, which leads to physical and mental tension.

Many prefer to meditate with a friend or in a group, which boosts mental energy and motivation. See what works for you. At the same time, strive to become a versatile meditator by not depending on particular conditions in your meditation practice.

Best of luck!

Related:   Meditation Mistakes   Progress In Meditation   Meditation Tips

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