Don’t fret though.
The five senses can also be used initially, to direct the mind towards a point of meditative awareness. When we realize that we have lost focus on our breathing, we can bring it back to the breathing or we can look at what the distraction was.
Say our legs hurt from sitting in mediation. I have lost focus on my breathing and I am thinking about my legs hurting. It hurts in just such a place, in just such a way and I feel this specific way about my discomfort. Watch the mind’s interaction with this sense for a few moments. Don’t attach to the sense; just observe it and the attendant emotion. Unite this awareness with your breathing.
We can do this for any of the senses the mind wanders toward. For some of us, this may help in the process of continual placement.
Like natural introverts and extroverts, we all have natural inclinations. They do not have to be seen as right or wrong. Just be aware that they are there. Don’t look at your distraction as a negative, use it as a focus for meditation and rejoice!
If you have been unable to increase your periods of calm abiding over the last week, don’t worry. While this course is only 9 weeks, it is designed to educate you, not be a time line to gauge your progress against. It can take several weeks, months, or even longer for some of us. That’s all okay. It’s not a race. It is about intent to try and the willingness to act upon that intent.
I have been meditating and studying on and off for 20 years now and I still find myself making very small and measured baby steps. Some days my meditation is only a few short minutes, some days it is lengthy vigils through the night. It is not the length of time that matters. In fact, there is a traditional saying that says, “Briefly and often.” Meaning sit often for short spells of time.
Get used to directing the focus over and over again in every situation. Are you at a stop light? Great; take a measured and focused breath and just be there with it. Warming up tea or coffee? Allow the buzzer to signal a moment of focus. There is no right place for meditation. No matter where we are or where we go, there will be distractions. Focus on the awareness of the present not the idea of how meditation should be.