Being able to direct your mind and focus your attention can be tormenting for some people as they lose their grip on the thoughts running in their mind. More than 50% of people find it extremely difficult to find a focal point and become self-aware.
Not being able to focus one’s attention can impact our personal and work lives; with our mind wandering in a maze full of unnecessary thoughts, our productivity decreases.
We lose interest in things we like, it becomes difficult to prioritize important work, and procrastination becomes more frequent. Stabilizing our mind can be achieved through various mental activities such as meditation.
Meditation has been practised for ages for self-awareness, calmness, and focused attention by directing our mind to focus our mind on an object, sound, or sensation.
With repetitive exercises, we can train our mind to direct our attention to important things and positive thoughts. Meditation may be an ancient concept, but it is still practised in populations worldwide to achieve a sense of peace and personal fulfilment.
While the meditation practice has ties to religious teachings such as Hinduism and Buddhist traditions, meditation is less about any particular religion and more about the modulation of consciousness, attention, and calmness.
What is Focused Meditation?
Focused meditation, which is also referred to as concentrative meditation, has proven beneficial in relieving people from stress. This is a straightforward approach to improving our attention and focusing on simple exercises for a couple of minutes every day.
Focused meditation involves intently focussing on something and being able to concentrate on the present moment. Focused meditation is somehow similar to mindfulness meditation as you wholly concentrate on an object or a stimulus or even on your breathing.
By anchoring your attention on something, you allow your mind to relax as the thoughts pass without getting a hold of your mind.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
Focused meditation is one of the most accessible forms of meditation which doesn’t require a teacher and can be practised by anyone without any expertise.
The practice of focused meditation involves concentrating on any of the five senses and directing your wandering mind to a focal point. Focused concentration helps the practitioner to get his mind to a state of stillness. This is useful for beginners because it can be effective in preventing them from getting distracted.
How to Practice Focused Meditation?
Practising focused meditation involves a few simple steps to begin. These steps can be increased with time and more practice. Start with five-minute sessions and work your way to more extended periods as you get more familiar with the workout. For performing focused meditation, you will need a calm place that will help you concentrate and become aware and stabilized.
The key steps to practising focused meditation are mentioned below,
1) Choose a target for focusing your attention. Focusing on your breath is a smart choice since it is typically the starting exercise for most types of meditation practices.
2) Sit in a comfortable position. Sitting comfortably helps reduce the chances of distraction.
3) Help relax by loosening all your muscles and take deep breaths.
4) Try putting all your attention on the target object or stimulus. Do not think of it as a chore since you will feel tired after losing your interest. Think of it as a self-exploring activity where you find your strengths and work on your weak points.
5) Refocus on your target if your thoughts overwhelm you and you lose your focus. It might feel a little daunting if you cannot control your thoughts, but with practice, you will become accustomed.
6) Do not let failure stop you. It will take some time to learn how to control your mind and put all your attention in one direction.
Attention regulation meditation techniques
Focused Attention Meditation helps you to develop skills that can improve your attention.
1) It can help recognize distractions without getting lost in them.
2) It also helps in letting go of distracting thoughts and shift your attention.
3) The strength or tendency to refocus on the chosen target.
The mastery of Focused attention meditation can take many exercises and meditation sessions before you finally learn the art. As a beginner, you can start with a 5 minutes exercise and increase the duration as you feel more comfortable.
Choose the right time for you to practice. Many people think that focused meditation (or any meditation practice) is a perfect way to start their day. However, others prefer to meditate after work to cool down from their stressful lives and refocus on their family and home.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, suffering follows him as the wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon…. If a man speaks or acts with a good thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.”
The posture in which you meditate is essential. Sit in a good position, where you’re feeling upright, balanced and relaxed. Back straight, the shoulders lose, chin up. Open your eyes and loosen the muscles surrounding your eyes and face.
You can either sit on a chair or sit on the floor or use a meditation pillow- the aim is to sit in a most comfortable position and help you focus with minimum distractions.
What are the Benefits of Focused Meditation?
Meditation has been practised by people in all corners of the world to relieve stress and find their focus. People with stressful lifestyles often get worked up and find it difficult to control their thoughts. In a stressful environment, it is inevitable that their power of focussing and staying sharp decreases.
Focus attention meditation involves exercises that can help the practitioner to improve their attention by relieving them from the stress and overwhelming trails of thoughts running on their mind.
Suppose you’re trying to relieve tension or achieve spiritual wisdom, to find peace. In that case, there’s always a meditation practice that will be just right for you.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try different types of things. It often takes a little trial and error until you find the right one.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise, we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”