Is it hard for you to meditate even for 3 minutes?
Do you get interrupted by noises, physical discomfort, or even your thoughts?
If you do, then here is what you need to know: these meditation distractions are part of the process.
And the hardest thing you will learn to do is become comfortable with them.
Why am I confident in your success? Because I went through that stage myself.
Looking back, all I can remember is irritation and disappointment.
Prolonged sitting stirred memories from my past that I learned to push away, and it wasn’t what I wanted.
But in the end, it did help me let go of the things that were burdening my mind.
Meditation allowed me to observe my thoughts without judgment. I was able to focus on the now, the only thing that truly mattered.
So in this post, I will share the three most common meditation distractions and how to deal with them.
Can you meditate to the sound of the pigs?
If you’re wondering why I’m bringing up the pigs, here’s a story behind it.
I’m a part of a meditation group, and one day a member posted a question on behalf of a friend who lived on a farm.
This friend wanted to meditate, but pig noises interfered with his concentration. So he wanted to know what he should do about it.
The right answer to that question is two-fold.
First, you have to take the right action. Do whatever you can to find a quiet place. However, sometimes it’s easier said than done.
If there is no practical way to get rid of the distracting sound, you need to get comfortable with it.
Observe your internal reactions and let them uncover your habitual thought patterns.
As you practice more, you might notice that the noise doesn’t really bother you anymore. So whether you meditate in total silence or with pigs around won’t make any difference.
Do you live in a noisy environment? How do you deal with it when you want to meditate?
So you are trying to sit still, but your body wants to move. And on top of that, it seems like forever because time has stopped.
In my experience, this irritating feeling can be linked to physical discomfort.
One way to deal with this meditation distraction is to adjust your sitting meditation posture.
For example, many people start with a cross-legged position on the floor.
I do not recommend this approach because it does more harm than good. If you’re not flexible enough, you might feel tense and uneasy.
The best option is to sit on a chair, placing feet firmly on the ground and arms on the lap.
This way, you will keep your body relaxed, and your mind alert for meditation.
Does it seem impossible to keep out distracting thoughts when you meditate?
Only a few minutes into meditation and a random image from your past shutters your concentration. And when that happens, you blame yourself for not being able to meditate the right way.
As this keeps happening, you consider dropping meditation because it doesn’t work.
If you ever felt that way, then you had been doing everything right. Becoming aware of your thoughts is one of the main benefits of meditation.
For example, when you count your out-breaths during breathing meditation and get distracted, you have to start all over again. Only then can you move on to the next stage of the technique.
In the long run, this repetition helps your mind let go of thoughts and go back to your breath. You learn to “catch” your thoughts, becoming aware of something that was unconscious.
So there are two components at work here:
1. You notice that you are being distracted by a thought
2. You go back to your breath
The moment you notice the distraction is the moment you create a small gap between you and your thought.
That gap means that you can “see” the thought from a distance. You break your identification with it. You become the observer.
This gap is tiny at first, but with time it expands, and your concentration improves.
It becomes much easier to follow your breath and come back to it whenever you want.
This practice profoundly changes your everyday life. Even when not meditating, you can catch yourself thinking negative thoughts. Your awareness grows, and with it, your ability to remain calm and take the right action.