You can focus on your breath, repeat a mantra, look at a candle flame or a spot on the wall, or you can listen to a guided meditation. Regardless of the technique that you use, the idea is to learn how to keep your focus and attention in one place for a length of time.
And this takes work.
When I began in meditation, I was using my breath. My initial goal was to watch my breath and count 25 breaths.
Whew! At first I would count three or four breaths and then the mind would take off somewhere, only to come back at some point and remember, “I am supposed to be counting breaths!”
But when you come back, you are back.
I would go back to the last number I could remember and if I couldn’t remember what number I’d been on when the mind took over, this meant that I had to start over at the beginning.
This caused me to be hard on myself. To really try as hard as I could to keep my focus on the breath.
In a short time, maybe two weeks, it happened.
You would have thought I was picking up something heavy, because I really had to exert some energy to hold my focus. But as soon as I did it the first time, it became easier.
Whatever technique you use, make sure you are using it. Holding the focus.
Most people shy away from the phrase, “Mind Control,” but that is exactly what we are trying to achieve in meditation.
We have monkey mind. Racing thoughts. The mind control’s us.
But we are not the mind, nor are we the body.
Right? We tell our bodies what to do and where to go, and it complies instantaneously. You will learn that you can also stop the monkey mind. You can interject new thoughts.
Life is very different when you can use your mind, instead of having the mind use you. When you can decide to focus on something, and hold the focus there for as long as you would like, things slow down tremendously.
You slow down.
And it is now very easy to spot someone who is, “present” and who also is awake.
“Awake” meaning that the person has awakened to know that they control the mind and the body, and not the other way around.
Most people cannot hold their focus long enough to count anywhere near twenty-five breaths.
Isn’t that a little scary?
Self awareness. Meditate. Get some control over the monkey mind.
This is the work of meditation.