The focused meditation technique will calm your mind and soothe your emotions. It's easy to learn, and if you practice it regularly it will certainly help you on your way to inner peace and serenity.
Obviously, the more you practice meditation, the more effective you will become and the benefits you experience will be greater. But you will likely begin to notice changes within you from day one, so what are you waiting for?
Focused meditation could be described as an attention meditation technique, where we choose to focus on one thing to the exclusion of all else. Even though I use the word attention, it is not about trying too hard.
There are many different things we can use as our object of focus, and we'll get to those in a moment. By choosing to focus on one thing only, we begin to quieten our busy minds and feel peace in the spaces between the thoughts.
Because you will find it difficult to stop thinking totally, you will begin to notice patterns in your thinking and your emotions, giving you more insight into yourself.
It is very important you realise that you will not be able to stay totally focused through the whole meditation. In fact, you will probably be focused for a few moments, then lose focus as a thought comes into your mind. Then you calmly bring yourself back to your object of focus again, as many times as needed, without judgement or anger toward yourself.
The focused meditation technique is very calming and centring. It anchors us in the present moment, freeing us from judgements about the past or worrying about the future.
Get yourself ready by finding a quiet and comfortable spot where you can be assured of no interruptions. Be seated in a comfortable chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. If for physical reasons you need to recline then do so.
If you prefer to sit cross-legged on the floor this is okay but just make sure you can stay comfortable, with your back straight. Loosen any tight clothing and you might like to take off your shoes.
Begin by allowing yourself to relax. Close your eyes and take some slow, deep breaths into your abdomen. Feel the muscles in your body loosen, especially the ones around your face, neck and shoulders. Spend a few minutes getting into a relaxed state. Now allow yourself to breathe naturally.
What Do I Focus On?
There are many things we can choose to focus or concentrate on for this meditation technique. Choose just one focus for each meditation, but try as many different types of focus as you like for different meditation sessions to see which one you prefer.
1. Focusing on the Breath. This involves allowing yourself to breathe naturally, while focusing your attention on the breath as you inhale and exhale. Feel the cool air going in through your nose; feel the expansion of your lungs and abdomen; feel the warmer air going out through your nose as your chest deflates. Allow yourself to become totally involved in the process of breathing.
2. Focusing on a Mantra or a Word. Choose a word that has a positive and uplifting meaning for you. It could be 'love', 'calm', 'peace' or anything that feels good. Or you could use a mantra such as 'OM' (pronounced 'aum'), a sound that represents the many aspects of God.
Focus your attention on your natural breathing pattern, and with each out breath repeat your mantra. You may choose to say it quietly in your own head, or you may choose to say it out loud. It is entirely up to you.
3. Focusing on the Image of an Object. You can choose to focus on any object you like, so long as it is something that feels good to you. Maybe the image of a flower, a candle, or a forest scene.
Allow the image to come gently into your mind and focus your attention on that object. Notice all of the details of your object, even what it feels like, smells like or sounds like. Allow yourself to become one with your object.
4. Focusing on a Real Object.
If you like to meditate outdoors, this provides some good opportunities
for focusing on things like the beauty of a sunset, the sound of
trickling water, or the feeling of a gentle breeze on your face. Of
course, if your focus is something that you need to look at then you
will need to keep your eyes open instead.
Then What Do I Do?
Use your object of focus to keep you anchored in the present moment. The idea is to focus on your breath, mantra or object to the exclusion of all else. However, it is very normal for many other thoughts, images or feelings to come into your mind and this will happen.
But it is very important that when you do notice that you have lost your focus, just gently bring yourself back to your object of focus again. Do not get angry or frustrated with yourself. Just acknowledge the presence of these thoughts and let them drift away. Do not hang on to them, or judge them in any way.
Spend approximately 20 minutes meditating in this way. When you are finished, sit quietly with your eyes still closed for about two minutes, to allow yourself to return to normal consciousness before going about your day.
Write down notes of any insights or other experiences you may have had, however do not feel disappointed if you don't have anything to write.
No matter what happens, your meditation has been successful, even if you had many thoughts. The fact that you just let them drift away means that you have benefited from this meditation.
If you continue to practice a focused meditation technique on a daily basis, you will begin to experience your reality from a whole new perspective. You will achieve greater self awareness and begin to let go of your negative beliefs and judgements. You will begin to live more in the present moment, in harmony with yourself and the Universe.
Like to try some other easy types of meditation? Click on my links below:
For more on how to meditate for beginners, such as where, how often, etc. please click here.