Practice Focused Meditation
By Elizabeth Scott, M.S., About.com Guide
Updated May 17, 2006
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This type of meditation involves focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and turning off your internal dialogue. Many people find this type of meditation easier to practice than classic meditation where you focus on nothing to quiet your mind. With focused meditation, you can choose to focus on almost anything that involves the senses, including sounds, visual pieces, tactile sensations, tastes and smells, and even the your own breathing! Here’s how:
Time Required: 5 to 30 Minutes
- Choose a target for your focus. The sound of a metronome, the smell of incense, or a pleasing picture are all popular choices. (If you need more ideas, here’s a list of things you can turn your attention to.)
- Get into a comfortable position, and relax your body.
- Turn your attention to your chosen target, and take in the sensation it provides. Focus on the sound, smell, sight, etc. and simply experience what it has to offer. The idea is not to think about it, but simply to experience it, being fully present in the moment.
- If your internal voice starts to analyze it, or begins to rehash stressful situations of the day, worry about the future, make a list for grocery shopping, or anything else, gently turn your attention back to your chosen target and the sensation it provides. Let your mind stay quiet and clear.
- If you find your mind engaging you and realize that you’re not being fully present with the sensations of your chosen target, don’t let your inner perfectionist beat you up for ‘doing it wrong’; simply congratulate yourself for noticing, and return back to the present moment and the sensations it has to offer.
- That’s it. It may sound a little strange or difficult to understand as you’re reading this, but as you practice this type of meditation, it will become easier and make more sense. The more you practice, the more benefits you will experience. Enjoy!
- Give it time. Meditation often takes practice. If you’re expecting to do it ‘perfectly’, you may actually create more stress for yourself than you relieve, and you won’t want to stick with it.
- Start with shorter sessions—like five minutes—and work your way up to longer sessions—like 30. With practice, this type of meditation becomes easier and more effective.
- If the experience is frustrating for you and you don’t really want to continue, you may find more success with other types of meditation like the Karate Breathing Meditation.
What You Need:
- Some quiet, private time.
- Comfortable clothes.
- A willing attitude and an open mind.