ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Practice Focused Meditation

Updated on April 6, 2015
Paying attention on your breathing is one way of doing focused meditation.
Paying attention on your breathing is one way of doing focused meditation. | Source

Have you noticed what happens when you sit down to meditate? The first thing you will notice is that countless thoughts crowd into your mind and you are unable to concentrate on any one thought. Even if you force yourself to think on one subject you will find that within seconds your mind has wandered off on a tangent. This is an experience faced by all beginners. Let us find out how to practice focused meditation and how it affects us.

Concentration is Essential for Meditation

Success in meditation depends on how well a person can concentrate with a single focus on a particular subject or ideal. Meditation begins where concentration ends. The purpose of concentration is to focus the attention upon a small field of mental vision. In meditation you try to keep that clear vision but extend it over a larger field and into the depths and heights of thought which you have not been able to reach clearly before.

Many people fail in concentration because they make the mistake of trying to grasp the mental image firmly. It is the same as when you close your fist tightly over a handful of sand and it escapes between the fingers. However, if you open out the fingers and just hold the sand in your relaxed palm, the sand does not flow out but stays on the hand. Attention without tension is what is required.

Concentration and meditation must always be practised without the slightest strain. Control of the mind is brought about by constant, quiet, calm practice and avoiding all agitation and excitement. A relaxed body is essential to achieve a single focus and concentration of the mind.

Sit in a quiet spot indoors or outdoors for observing the breath
Sit in a quiet spot indoors or outdoors for observing the breath | Source

Exercise 1: Observing Your Breath

Sit in comfortable upright position in your chair, or cross-legged on a cushion. Any posture which will allow your body to balance itself so that you will not have to make any effort at all to remain in that position. Close your eyes and sense your body, scan it for any tensions and release them. Take a deep breath and hold it until you cannot hold it any longer, let it go. Notice how good it feels to let your breath go.

Now gently focus on your breathing. Notice how it comes and goes without you having to do anything. Observe the quality of the breath, its length, long or short breaths, and its duration without trying to control it. Notice how it affects the body. When you inhale the abdomen expands as the lungs fill with air. There is tension. When you exhale, your body relaxes.

You may have noticed that as you watched your breathing, you automatically tried to regulate it in some manner. Now step aside mentally and simply observe your breathing without interfering with it. The mind will generate thoughts about your breathing as you observe it. That is all right. The mind will also naturally wander and think about other things. When you notice you are thinking thoughts, think to yourself the thought, ‘That is all right.’ Then let your attention return to your breathing. Every time the mind wanders off, gently bring it back to rest your attention on your breath. Simply practice the willingness to have your attention remain peacefully focused on your breathing. That’s meditation.

Exercise 2: Listening to the Echoes in the Mind

Take a single word, like chair, and say it silently to yourself. As you do so, listen to what it sounds like in your mind as you say it. Listen carefully and you can hear the word echo in your mind. Notice how many repeating echoes you can hear of the word chair before it fades away.

You may have heard it a few times, or many times. Perhaps you also noticed the intriguing fact that it became hard to tell if you were hearing an echo or were listening to yourself repeat the word. Listening to the echo has both the qualities of listening to something and thinking something. It is like listening because you have to be receptive. It is like thinking because it is concentrating on a process happening in your mind.

Listening to a word echo in your mind is a way to allow your mind to think the same thought over and over without forcefully trying to focus on one thought. The thought repeats itself as long as you are willing to listen to it. When your mind takes your attention to other thoughts, all you have to do is think the original word again, and be willing to listen to it repeat itself. This is an indirect approach to a goal that cannot be reached directly. It is meditation.

Guided Meditation with Eckhart Tolle

The Effects of Focused Meditation

Practicing focused meditation has many effects on the body and mind of a person:

  • The body slows down.
  • Breathing becomes more regular.
  • The heart rate and blood pressure decreases.
  • There is a general relaxing affect.
  • The body’s immune system becomes stronger.

These are some of the physical effects of meditation. There are many things that happen at the inner levels of our being. The practice of meditation also results in brain growth.

Constant, quiet, calm practice means regular periodical practice continued for sufficient time to be effective. The results of this practice are cumulative. Little result is seen in the beginning but perseverance will result in a lot later on. The quality is more important than quantity. It must be practiced a minimum of once every day and up to three times per day if it is of short duration. It should always be done before relaxation and pleasure, not afterwards and as early in the day as practicable. Some strictness of rule is necessary, and this is best imposed upon us by ourselves.

As we learn more about the nature of the mind, its potential, its capacities, the power of thoughts and what they mean to our life, we will gain in confidence. This confidence in oneself is also a great help to success in concentration and meditation.

Sources:

  1. Mind and Memory Training by Ernest Wood. The Theosophical Publishing House Ltd., London, 1974.
  2. Edgar Cayce – Modern Prophet, Four Volumes in One: Edgar Cayce on Prophesy; Edgar Cayce on Religion and Psychic Experience; Edgar Cayce on Mysteries of the Mind; Edgar Cayce on Reincarnation. Gramercy Books, USA, 1990.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Sushma Webber profile imageAUTHOR

      Sushma Webber 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      @awesomeactress - thanks for your comments. I too have restarted meditating this year and have found it very beneficial.

      @denise.w.anderson - glad you found the article helpful.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I've always heard that it is good to meditate, but I have never heard it explained so simply before. Thanks for helping me understand what it is and how to do it!

    • profile image

      awesomeactress 

      5 years ago

      Very useful. I've been wanting to get back into meditating and this will definitely help me get started. Thanks.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)