Often, when first learning to meditate, people become extremely frustrated by distractions. They are surprised at how easily sounds, thoughts, and even body aches can draw away the attention. Meditation seems like such a simple concept, just be still. The problem is that in our daily lives, the hours in the day are much too short for all the things we have on our to do lists. Multi-tasking becomes second nature. In this way, meditation is like retraining our minds to develop healthier ways of being.

Especially at first, distractions are going to be a fact of life. Trying to push them away only seems to make them more resistant. Instead, why not let the distractions become part of your practice?

  1. Begin Deep Breathing, Breath Counting, or any other meditation technique.
  2. When a thought distracts your meditation, simply follow the thought. However, instead of becoming emotional, watch the thought as if it were external to you. Imagine the thought is like a deer in a meadow going about its normal routine.
  3. If an image or scene appears in your mind, follow the same procedure. Instead of trying to figure out why the image has appeared just let it show up and pass as if you’re seeing a mildly entertaining slide show or movie.
  4. If sound distracts your practice follow that as well. Again, listen as though the sound were a bird chirping or other natural thing. It’s interesting to hear but it has nothing to do with you personally.
  5. As you become more adept at this practice, you might want to just take a moment to note the type of distraction. For instance, thought, sound, stomach gurgle, etc. Then, go back to your practice.