In developing a meditation practice, I’ve come to realize that it’s not about what I’m making an effort to do, it’s about allowing and returning to a centered place if I have wandered.
They say the mind is like a wild horse, always wanting to run this way and that. It cannot be controlled through will. However, you allow something to become your focus, like a mantra or your breath, and this is the tether that the horse must come back to.
The horse will run a bit, and your breathing gently brings it back. It will paw the ground and try to get away, but you simply return to your breath. In time, the horse will stand quietly and accept where it is. Then, it will become still and you will experience moments of deep peace.
Some things that have helped me as I continue to practice meditation:
1.) Be gentle with yourself. If you find your mind wandering, and it will, notice and return to your breath. Simple as that. No punishment, no attachment.
2.) I have more success focusing on my heart that my mind. I try to bring my consciousness to my heart, and feel what is happening there. This helps me to detach from my mind.
3.) Practice, practice, practice. The more I practice and the longer I challenge myself to go, the more moments to stillness I find. It is like a muscle that needs exercise. Keeping with a commitment to meditate will strengthen your practice.
4.) Try a guided meditation to begin. It helps to have a teacher dropping in every few minutes to remind you to return to your focus point (breath or mantra or whatever). It also helps to break up the length of time.