Learning to meditate can be a challenge. The basic idea of meditation seems simple enough. All you need is your body, a comfortable spot and a quiet mind. The body and the spot are easily attained. The quiet mind? Not so much. In fact, Meditators of all skill levels struggle with what to focus on when meditating.
The simplest answer is this, each time you find your mind wandering, return your focus to your breath. In trying to quiet a busy mind many people get nervous and start to over complicate the process. Allowing yourself to return to your breath and “just be”, can help you feel more peaceful and focused during your meditation. You can also try some other techniques like mantras, mindfulness or guided meditations to help you focus when meditating.
10 Things To Focus on When Meditating
1. Mindful Breathing
To meditate properly, you don’t need to empty your mind or think of nothing to attain inner peace. You just need to “be”. Your mind is meant to be bright and alive, you will never be able to just simply turn it off. This is where mindful breathing comes in.
Every time your mind begins to wander, simply bring your attention back to your breath. Breathing in through your nose for 6 seconds, and out through your mouth for 6 seconds. Repeating again and again, until you finish your meditation.
2. Chant A Mantra
Mantras are excellent to focus on while meditating. There are different kinds of mantras you can use during your practice. The first kind would be similar to an affirmation. Such as “I am love”. The second type are ancient sanskrit sounds that depending on which one you choose, can help you transform your life.
There are mantras for health, wealth and of course love. If you’d want to attract love read my post here: 12 Powerful mantras for attracting true love.
Depending on which kind you go with, the application is the same. Repeat your mantra over and over again through your meditation process. For Sanskrit mantras in particular, the best practice is 108 times for 40 days.
3. Listen To A Guided Meditation
Guided meditations are a good choice for anyone who struggles with what to think about during meditation. Many meditators find it much easier to let go when they have someone gently guiding them through the process.
There are many amazing free guided meditations out there. For a list of where to start read my post the best guided meditations for beginners here.
4. Your Heart Center
A meditation focusing on your heart centre or heart chakra can help you heal and balance your energy. To use this method: Sit down in a comfortable spot. Then placing both hands over your heart centre in the middle of your chest. Imagine a beautiful wheel of light spinning around clockwise in the centre of your chest.
Deeply breathe in and out. See it expanding, clearing bringing new energy in and clearing old energy out. See it getting brighter and brighter. Feel the love growing and imagine that love expanding outward through your entire being.
5. Love and Compassion
If you must focus on something, then what could be better than love and compassion? Try a Metta or as it also known, the loving kindness meditation. Which encourages you to access four qualities of love: friendliness (Metta), compassion (Karuna), appreciative joy (Mudita), and equanimity (Upekkha).
The loving kindness meditation has been been studied extensively and has been found to have many proven benefits (1).
6. On Your Body
Shift your focus from the mind and turn it to your body instead. To begin your body scan meditation, take a few deep breaths, slowly in and out. Next shift your awareness to the soles of your feet and slowly begin to move it up your body.
Feel the space in your toes, feet, ankles legs, continuing to all the way up to your head and space behind your eyes. Continue with your steady breathing, and take your awareness down the body from head to toes. Allow yourself to feel the sensations in your body as you focus on each part. Repeat the process as many times as necessary to feel calm and centered.
7. Healing White Light
Imagine a beautiful white light coming in to your body through the top of your head and going all the way down your spine to the tips of your toes. Imagine this light expanding and filling your whole body. As you inhale, focus on the light bringing in love and healing. On your exhale, imagine that healing white light of love flowing out of you and surrounding you in a bubble of white light and love.
8. Try A Candle Meditation
Usually when we think of someone meditating we picture them sitting calmly with their eyes closed. But did you know that you can also meditation with your eyes open?
A Trataka (2) is a type of meditation where you keep your eyes open and direct your attention outward. One of the most common types of Trataka is to put your focus on a candle flame. Not only does it give you something to focus on, it is also said to improve concentration, memory and activate the third eye.
How to do a candle flame meditation:
Light your candle and set it about 2 feet from where you will be seated. Take care to make sure that it is placed in fire proof container and that all safety precautions are in place before you begin. The room should be dark and draft free.
Find a comfortable seated position. Begin by bringing your awareness to your breath, breathing in until your whole body feels relaxed and calm. When you feel ready, gently open your eyes and allow your gaze to rest on the middle part of the candle flame. Without blinking look at the flame for as long as you can.
Notice what thoughts or awareness that comes up for you. Then release any judgment on those thoughts and allow them to just gently float by.
9. Focus On An Intention
What is the purpose of your meditation? Are you seeking inner peace or would like to attract more love, abundance or wealth into your life? Whatever it is you can set an intention and focus on it during your practice.
There are several ways you can do this. One simple way is to write your intention down and a piece of paper. Then focus on the outcome and feeling of how that intention will feel once you are living it.
Another way to use intention is to boost its effects by using a meditation crystal. We have listed a full article on how to meditate with crystals here.
10. The Here and Now
This moment is all that you have. Instead of future tripping or living in the past allow yourself to experience the present moment. Bring your awareness to here and now. Breathe it in and feel it in every fibre of your being.
Allowing the presence of peace to flow through you. Moment, by moment, by moment.
5 Quick Tips To Make Focusing During Meditation Easier
1. Keep It Short and Sweet
One of the keys to building your “focus muscle” is to start small. Many people feel intimidated by the length of time they think it takes to get all the benefits of meditation (3). However starting with just 10 or 15 minutes a day can be enough. If that seems like to much, you can start with just 3 minutes and build from there.
2. Do It First Thing In The Morning
Meditating in the morning not only sets you up to have a peaceful start to your day. It’s also much easier to stay calm and focused before all the demands of modern life set in. So before you check your phone, emails, texts and social media give yourself the gift of inner peace.
3. Incorporate Essential Oils
Using essential oils during your meditation can boost serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain and naturally calm (1) the mind. They can also induce a deeper and more relaxed state, while helping to keep focus and clarity.
Some of the best essential oils for meditation are Lavender, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Neroli and Roman Chamomile. For a complete list read our article: The 17 best essential oils for a zen meditation experience.
4. Allow Yourself To Just Be
Meditating should be something that gives you inner peace, not something that stresses you out. Allow yourself to just be ok with having thoughts. With having a busy mind or being uncomfortable during your practice.
Observe and accept where you are from movement to moment. You aren’t a good or bad meditator you just “are”. And when in doubt on what to focus on when meditating always come back to your breath. Namaste!
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