If you want to develop increased powers of concentration, there are specific and simple meditation techniques for concentration that will assist you in a very short time. The purpose of these techniques are to have you focus and direct all your attention to a specific point. Focusing either internally on your breathing or externally on an object like the flame of a candle or a point on the wall.
Over time these techniques will increase your awareness and ability to concentrate throughout your day and away from the meditative state. The simplicity of these exercises means that virtually anyone can start immediately. You don’t require any special equipment or environment. You’ll be able to practice where you are today. I’ll encourage you to start meditating after this short read.
There is nothing complex to learn. The simpler the better. You don’t have to “get good” at this. You already do this daily (focus your attention that is) but here you will be focusing specifically for a short period of time in order to develop your ability to concentrate away from the exercise too. In addition you’ll find a greater sense of well being and a greater ability to deal with daily stress.
Constant concentration on one point
Meditation techniques for concentration involve training your mind to have sustained focus towards a single object. As soon as you have the awareness that your mind has become caught up in a thought that distracts you from the object, you simply return your attention back to the chosen object. You will need to repeat this over and over. Don’t get frustrated with this early on as you may actually spend more time distracted then focused – that’s normal.
The concentration meditation process is always the same no matter what you choose to focus on. It may be an object in the room or the flame of a candle or your breath or the flow of blood in your hand. For a simple meditation technique that involves focus on the circulation of blood in the hands go here. Try different methods early on to see which resonates most with you.
By the way, if you choose a candle as your object of attention, light the candle in an area without a draft to minimize flicker and gaze rather than stare at the flame. Simply observe the quality of the flame with a soft gaze.
Uninterrupted intense focus
Simply put, you will place uninterrupted and intense focus on one object. Buddhists call this samadhi, a type of focus or single pointed concentration. The purpose of all meditation techniques for concentration is to remain continually focused, while knowing full well that thoughts will constantly arise and attempt to distract you from your original goal. You will repeatedly become aware of this fact and return to the chosen object.
The beginner to any type of meditation technique is usually blown away as to just how unbelievably active their mind is but they only truly see this once they begin concentrating. If you experience this also, don’t sweat it.
Your ability to become aware will improve with each session
Your ability to become aware of those intruding thoughts, to still the mind and quickly return to the object of your focus will improve with each mediation session. You’ll also start to see in your time away from meditating that you’ll catch yourself drifting into random thoughts while being focused on actions at work or even play.
When thoughts swoop in (and they will) to interrupt this attention, the meditator simply becomes aware that this has occurred and returns awareness to the object of choice. Sometimes this awareness is enough and you automatically return.
Sometimes you’ll need to take hold of the focus wheel more forcefully depending on if the thought is disturbing or upsetting. This interruption and subsequent return to the object of focus will happen repeatedly but also lessen dramatically over time as the meditative practice continues. Expect this in a few weeks or less.
Decide before beginning any concentration meditation…
Decide before beginning any concentration meditation technique that you will be patient with yourself and know that there is no deadline to “get this”. There is nothing to get, strive for or achieve. No effort is required to simply be aware of your breathing or an any object in front of you. This will allow you to start now. Start today and begin benefitting from the practice almost immediately.
Start by sitting comfortably
You’ve likely seen the complex poses normally associated with meditation. Don’t concern yourself with that in the beginning. Beginners likely will find the lotus posture too difficult but rest assured that simply sitting upright will do. Our priority here is single-minded focus – anything posture wise that distracts us from this goal is detrimental. You need to be relaxed and comfortable.
Start by sitting comfortably in a chair with your back straight and hands sitting loosely in your lap. Once settled, you want to stay as still as possible. When you begin meditating you find that there’s a tendency to want to fidget or shift weight. That’s fine; realize it is so and move towards stillness again. Be patient early in the process of learning any type of meditation and within days your ability to sit still will improve tremendously.
The goal here is to remain as relaxed as possible while placing all your attention on whatever object you choose. Initially try this concentration meditation technique for 5- 10 minutes or so gradually working up to 20 plus minutes per daily session. Eventually you might choose to meditate in the morning and before bed but just aim for once daily at the beginning.
Practicing meditation techniques for concentration in the morning or evening both have unique benefits. The morning morning meditation will prepare you for the day by getting grounded in the present moment. You’ll find it easier to meet the challenges of your workday or really whatever you wish to accomplish.
Whereas if you meditate at the end of the day, you’ll become more aware of potentially unresolved emotions/experiences that arose during the day. This will lead to a more restful sleep. In time you might fit both a morning and evening meditation into your daily schedule,
How focused is more important than for how long
More important than how long you meditate for is how consistent your focus is. Better to meditate for shorter periods and be totally focused.
In order to have as few distractions as possible, find a warm and quiet location wherever you are and use a timer. Ask those around you for a little time without disturbance. Start by focusing on an object like a candle or a spot within an object in from of you.
Remain alert but don’t strain your eyes and keep your jaw slack. Choose the object and therein direct pin pointed attention. Remember not to strain the eyes but simply stay focused on the physical object.
If this your first meditation technique…
If this your first meditation technique that is aimed at increasing your powers of concentration, you may choose to simply focus on the breath. Just gently close your eyes and place your entire awareness on the process of breathing. There is nothing to force and nothing to gain. Simply become aware of the breathing that will take place whether or not you notice. You are just choosing to be aware of the entire breathing process. This awareness involves no effort. You are literally just noticing the breath.
Really and simply become aware of the sensation of the incoming fresh air being drawn into your nostrils. As you start to consciously focus on your breath intently, you’ll recognize your mind’s stubborn tendency to latch on to all kinds of thoughts that attempt to take your attention away from your breathing. Notice it and return to the breath.
Some find counting breaths to be useful
Some find that counting breaths in their mind (inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, etc) to be useful. I normally don’t count 1-2-3 to stay focused on the in and out breath but many find this enables them to keep their focus longer.
If you choose to count, make sure that there isn’t any deliberate effort to control or force the breath. Become aware of the natural ongoing process.
You could also recite words mentally like “in breath” and “out breath” or “enter breath” and “exit breath”.
Focus all your attention on the breath
Be prepared to have your awareness pulled away constantly
Be prepared in the beginning of your meditation practice to have your awareness pulled away by thoughts continually. Simply notice that it is happening and don’t judge your inability to keep the concentration unbroken and continually return to focusing on the breath.
Don’t get frustrated early on because it’s all a process. Improvement is never ending and once you adopt this habit it’ll be like brushing your teeth. You just do it without wondering if you’re good at it or not!
You will train yourself to constantly return to the breath in the present moment. Each time you practice the meditation for concentration you will bring more awareness into your day to day activities as well. An increased ability to hold a thought or intent in your mind beyond the meditation process will surprise you. You’ll start to experience new insights throughout your day as increased awareness happens naturally.
Is focusing on a mantra best for you?
Probably the most common misconception about meditation that some readers may have is that they have to be “religious” or interested in spirituality to meditate. They just want meditation techniques for concentration that are effective and easy to learn. Although meditation has its origins in the earliest Buddhist traditions, what’s being taught in this post doesn’t require any particular religious beliefs.
Mantra meditation simply means the meditator focuses on repeating out loud a single or multiple word phrase during the exhalation part of the breath. The mantra OM (representative of God) is likely the most familiar to both meditators and non-meditators.
By saying the mantra repeatedly the meditator is able to stay detached from thoughts. These thoughts may bubble up from below the surface. Whenever a thought does distract, one simply notices that it has happened and without self-judgment returns to the sound and words of the chosen mantra.
Changes in your life will happen quickly
You will undoubtedly start to become aware of habitual negative thought patterns that you had missed before as your concentration improves quickly. Usually the closest to the surface first. Because meditation teaches you to remain unfazed and objective to the thought you’ll find these thought patterns lose their sway over you.
There is you and there is the thought you have. Now you have the ability to remain objective to the thought. You can choose to no longer identify with the negative thought and your emotional state will be positive and your sense of well being will increase. Meditation allows you to calmly identify and willingly let go.
Start now! 🙂
Ok, enough reading; you are ready to start. Choose to focus on your breath, object or a mantra. Stop reading this and begin now. Set the timer….go.