My experience amounted to sitting there trying to hold back feelings of anger and frustration as I struggled to go just 15 seconds without some thought popping into my head and distracting me. It ended up being just another reason to be hard on myself and fire up the negative self talk. So yeah, not a pleasant experience. Certainly not one I wanted to commit to daily.
But over time, I learned that the practice isn’t here to teach me how to clear my head. It’s teaching me how to find my focus among a firestorm of thoughts, emotions, and sensations. It’s teaching me how to notice when I’ve fallen out of my focus and gently guide myself back. It’s teaching me to cycle between what I’m feeling in the present moment and my intended purpose.
My goal is to learn to see my thoughts and feelings with compassion and then intentionally redirect my focus toward positive action in a way that aligns with my purpose and vision.
I’m practicing focus even when things are imperfect. Because the reality is, that’s my life. Human existence is imperfect, messy, challenging, subject to distraction, and totally unpredictable. So I might as well get my reps in and learn to focus through imperfection and change because if I hope to translate this practice of stilling my focus into the dynamic experience of my life — not just on my mat.
If you’ve tried to meditate before and found yourself getting frustrated by the lack of stillness in your mind, know this: that’s the best time to practice honing your focus. Try shifting your mindset to make the goal simply letting go of judging yourself for struggling, letting go of needing it to go smoothly, and continuing to bring yourself back to focus over and over and over even when it’s difficult.