How to Quiet Your Mind During a Meditation Session?
If you are trying to find some effective tips or ways to quiet your mind during a meditation session then you have landed at the right place. It does not matter if you are new to meditation or have been meditating for a long time, this can happen to anyone. Although beginners are most commonly troubled by this problem that their mind keeps jumping from one thought to another frequently, even those who have been meditating for years can face this problem depending on their life situation and emotional health.
No matter what meditation you prefer, if you find yourself getting lost in random thoughts frequently then any form of meditation will not be providing you with good results which can be very frustrating because the very reason we sit to meditate is to achieve serenity.
What you need to understand if this is happening to you is that not being able to focus properly while meditating is not a big problem and this does not mean that you cannot meditate, the mind chatter that takes up all your attention when you are trying to concentrate is a part and parcel of our spiritual journey.
Here I will be sharing with you a few tips that will greatly help you to stop your mind from wandering when you sit to meditate, the points that I am going to enlist below will help you make gradual progress with your meditation practice, and these meditation tips will also motivate to stay consistent with your efforts, that’s why I request you to come back to reading this post whenever you feel you are going off track.
Sorry to put such an obvious point in the first place but it is probably the most important thing you must keep in mind, practice is important not only for those who are just beginning to meditate but it is also equally imperative for those who have meditated a lot before and somehow have taken a break from their routine of sitting in silence.
One of the best examples of this is what I found in Neville Goddard’s book “Awakened Imagination“, in one of the chapters in that book the author mentions that meditation is like learning to play piano, if you lose touch for a while then your ability to play it like before will require you to practice it again. This is the same with meditation, if you stop meditating for a while then your mind will start dominating and your thoughts will be uncontrolled so when you sit again to meditate you become aware of this chaotic thought train and it will require some consistent efforts from your side to discipline your mind.
If you have just begun to meditate then understand that you will need to be persistent with your meditation before you can expect your mind to stay quiet, it is not that your mind is making too much noise because you are meditating but it is always like that and you are getting aware of its nature because you are paying attention to what is going on in your inner world.
Don’t Try to Control Your Thoughts
This might be counterintuitive to you but don’t get confused. Yes, I talked about disciplining your thoughts with practice in the previous point but there is a clear difference between controlling and disciplining. Our mind is like a kid and we all know that it is impossible to control what children want to do but yet we can discipline them using certain methods. Just like in the case of the children, if we emphasis too much on not doing something, that’s what our mind is going to do and it comes up with better ways to distract us when we try to forcefully deal with our thoughts. Moreover, the frustration that follows due to failure further works against us.
Practice and discipline are indeed necessary to have better control over your mind during meditation but the reason why people who have practiced meditation methods for years sometimes fail in being able to quiet their minds while performing any particular meditation is because they put a lot of effort into controlling their thoughts, this is something that will make your mind very active and many people stop meditating after getting frustrated due to this.
One thing we should always keep in mind is “Meditation is not about controlling thoughts!!”, it’s not and that’s what most people don’t understand. You can only be successful in being able to sit in silence for a longer duration by allowing your mind to be free while observing your thoughts with complete awareness. The more aware you are, the less noise your mind will be making.
This is why I find mindfulness meditation to be one of the simplest forms of meditation because while performing it you just have to observe every activity with total alertness while allowing your thoughts to come and go. You have to learn acceptance and surrender if you want to make some spiritual progress. However this also does not mean that you should be careless about the process, you need to stay completely aware of your thoughts, and whenever you realize that you have lost your focus, just gently bring your attention back without fretting over it.
Music and Guided Meditation
Using soothing background audio tracks or guided meditation can help you relax during meditation. There are a lot of brainwave entrainment tracks available online these days that claim to help you achieve greater focus during meditation, I am not much in favor of such audio tracks because my experiences tell me that those tracks created using binaural beats do have some side effects but I also know that some people find this type of music very helpful for meditation.
As a beginner, guided meditation can really help you because it gives you a nice blueprint to follow. There are many types of guided meditation and musical tracks for meditation available today so you can explore them and find out if any of them works for you. Since the time I joined Christie Marie’s energy-clearing program named the unlimited abundance, I have been recommending her heart chakra guided meditation to people because that was one of the first guided meditations that I felt really effective. Here’s that guided meditation, you can try it for yourself and see if it helps:-
Daily Routine Time
Unless you are practicing mindfulness exercises that can be performed anytime and anywhere, it is very necessary that you fix a time for meditation and be very punctual. The ancient Indian yogic teachings say that an early morning hour called the Brahma muhurta is an ideal time for meditation but it is not possible for all of us to wake up that early to meditate, what we can at least do is fix a particular time of the day to sit in silence.
There’s one thing about our mind, it gets programmed according to the clock if we develop a habit of doing something at a particular clock time. If you will eat at a particular clock time for a few days then what happens? You start to feel hungry at that particular clock time. So if you will make a habit to meditate at a particular time of the day, your mind will get trained to work in your favor when you try to sit in silence at that particular hour of the day.
Conducive Environment and Physical Comfort
Your surroundings have a great impact on your mind, there’s a reason why people prefer meditating close to nature or spiritual places. Not only the noises around you but there are many other factors in the regular environment that can energetically affect your thoughts. I don’t want you to think much about this otherwise you won’t be able to meditate anywhere because you will start to blame others for your mental chatter but try to find a quiet place where you can sit without getting distracted.
Another important factor that will help you to quiet your mind while meditating is to make sure that you are comfortable, now by comfortable I don’t mean you lay down or recline (although there are meditations like yog nidra for that) because you will fall asleep but what I mean is don’t wear uncomfortable clothes or don’t choose to sit in a posture that is uncomfortable otherwise the physical discomfort will not allow you to focus. Also, make sure your stomach is not full because an active digestion system can affect your emotional state, this was something I learned long ago from a meditation instructor but later came to know about the enteric nervous system which is responsible for the brain-gut connection. This does not mean that you stay hungry, you can’t meditate when you are starving either so just take these factors into consideration before choosing your meditation time.
Those were a few points/tips that can definitely help you to quiet your mind while meditating but the most important factor is persistence, do not get demotivated if your mind makes too much noise and does not allow you to peacefully sit for a few minutes. Persistence is the key, no matter if you are able to meditate properly or not just make sure to sit and try every day, I am sure that you will be able to achieve deeper focus and very effective sessions with time. If you are too busy to meditate or you are struggling a lot then you can try something like the 7-minute mindfulness program which consists of various 7-minute long audios tracks to help you achieve inner peace, I believe it can be a great tool for beginners, and those who are very busy to be able to sit for long durations to meditate daily.
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