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Building Concentration

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to talk about building concentration in your meditation practice and also in your life. So it's interesting to see how, when we try to focus in meditation often, very quickly, something comes along and pulls our attention. A lot of the time, it's a thought, but it can also be an emotion or a sensation in the body. Other times what distracts us is maybe a sound and quite frankly, for me, sometimes it's my cat.

When I first learned to meditate, I would often settle into the meditation, feeling very, very focused and very connected to my breathing. But then if any distraction would come up, I'd get pulled right into it and then I'd feel really disturbed by it. So I'd start to feel irritated. And then I would kind of try to force my concentration back to the breath and block out the distraction, kind of by brute force. What I learned, very quickly actually, is that not only is that really exhausting and very stressful, but most of the time, it just simply doesn't work.

So a more effective and a more simple and easeful way to cultivate concentration is to notice and gently mentally name any distraction as it arises. Then without any judgmental force, we just land attention back on the breath or whatever the object of meditation is. So there's a real sense of fluidity and ease and grace to the practice. So if your mind starts worrying about something, then you can simply mentally name it, or you might note, just thinking. You acknowledged the thought, you bring attention back to the breath.

And then if a little while later, there's a loud noise outside, maybe a noisy neighbor, plane going overhead or a barking dog, no problem. You simply mentally name it. And so you might note to yourself, ah, sound. You acknowledge the sound, bring your focus back to the breath. So you might do this kind of naming of distraction, ten, twenty, a hundred times during a meditation.

No problem at all. Each time you just do the same thing with an easy warm and compassionate attitude. You just notice the distraction, name it, come back to the breath. The more you practice in this way, the more that your attention becomes more stable, clear, and focused during meditation. And each time you get distracted, you just very efficiently, with no fuss, come back to mindful awareness.

Not only that, but you're just more at ease, more relaxed and more calm throughout the whole practice. So you're much more likely to finish the meditation feeling really refreshed and revitalized. Of course you can also take this practice, this kind of focus into daily life as well. So if you find yourself getting distracted while you're writing an email, cooking a meal, connecting with someone you love, you can maintain more focus and concentration by noticing and naming any distractions and then choosing to come back to what really matters in that moment. So this is the invitation for practice to build concentration in this way.

And as always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. Let's now settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

Building Concentration

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to talk about building concentration in your meditation practice and also in your life. So it's interesting to see how, when we try to focus in meditation often, very quickly, something comes along and pulls our attention. A lot of the time, it's a thought, but it can also be an emotion or a sensation in the body. Other times what distracts us is maybe a sound and quite frankly, for me, sometimes it's my cat.

When I first learned to meditate, I would often settle into the meditation, feeling very, very focused and very connected to my breathing. But then if any distraction would come up, I'd get pulled right into it and then I'd feel really disturbed by it. So I'd start to feel irritated. And then I would kind of try to force my concentration back to the breath and block out the distraction, kind of by brute force. What I learned, very quickly actually, is that not only is that really exhausting and very stressful, but most of the time, it just simply doesn't work.

So a more effective and a more simple and easeful way to cultivate concentration is to notice and gently mentally name any distraction as it arises. Then without any judgmental force, we just land attention back on the breath or whatever the object of meditation is. So there's a real sense of fluidity and ease and grace to the practice. So if your mind starts worrying about something, then you can simply mentally name it, or you might note, just thinking. You acknowledged the thought, you bring attention back to the breath.

And then if a little while later, there's a loud noise outside, maybe a noisy neighbor, plane going overhead or a barking dog, no problem. You simply mentally name it. And so you might note to yourself, ah, sound. You acknowledge the sound, bring your focus back to the breath. So you might do this kind of naming of distraction, ten, twenty, a hundred times during a meditation.

No problem at all. Each time you just do the same thing with an easy warm and compassionate attitude. You just notice the distraction, name it, come back to the breath. The more you practice in this way, the more that your attention becomes more stable, clear, and focused during meditation. And each time you get distracted, you just very efficiently, with no fuss, come back to mindful awareness.

Not only that, but you're just more at ease, more relaxed and more calm throughout the whole practice. So you're much more likely to finish the meditation feeling really refreshed and revitalized. Of course you can also take this practice, this kind of focus into daily life as well. So if you find yourself getting distracted while you're writing an email, cooking a meal, connecting with someone you love, you can maintain more focus and concentration by noticing and naming any distractions and then choosing to come back to what really matters in that moment. So this is the invitation for practice to build concentration in this way.

And as always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. Let's now settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

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