If you are following my travels via Facebook or Instagram, then you know that I am still in the UK. This week, I am in London taking in the hustle and bustle of this hub of humanity. Watching it all go zipping by, I am thankful that I have taken the time to learn how to tune out much of the noise and focus mostly on things that I actually want to take notice of.

When you are new to meditation distractions are all around and come in many forms. They come as dogs barking, phones ringing, and car alarms. Body aches, a hectic life and a mind that simply refuses to play along These and many more will all work, seemingly as a team, to convince you to stop meditating. To give up before you’ve even started.

These distractions are small hurdles which appear insurmountable at first, but are easy to overcome once you know their correct placement in your consciousness. One way to put them in their proper placement is to just let them be. Do not make up a story about them or let them control you. For example, if you sit down to meditate and the neighbors start arguing or the dogs start barking, simply let the sounds pass through your consciousness and keep your body relaxed. If something hooks you, let it for a while, and then return to your meditation. By returning to your meditation, you are teaching your mind that this is where you would rather be for now, “being”, i.e not the with the dog barking or attached to the neighbors’ argument. You very gently become your preference in your mind and body.

By exercising control and direction of our consciousness through deciding what or who gets our attention/energy, we heighten the quality of our experiences and relationships.

Here is a simple meditation to practice:

Take a couple of deep breaths and close your eyes.

Let your body and mind adjust and get comfortable. Continue with your deep, quiet breathing. Next, instruct your mind that there will be no talking, and that you will be focusing on just listening. These directions to the mind help the mind to orient itself in accordance with your wishes. You may have to remind it a few times through the exercise. That is perfectly fine.

Now, slowly, begin to listen to the sounds around you by opening your listening consciousness. Listen to the quietest sounds, and then switch to the most distracting. How do you feel? Is your mind being pulled in many directions because a sound triggered a gazillion associations?

Breathe. Observe. Listen.

Practice letting the sounds move through you. The key here is to stay relaxed – both in mind and body. Continue breathing and listening.
As you continue to listen, your consciousness will become drawn to something much more nourishing than the sounds and distractions. That is inner quietude. Allow yourself to move towards this experience and sit in meditation, here in this inner quietude. Sit here for as long as you would like, and then when you are ready, take a couple of deep breaths and open your eyes.

Fantastic! Now, as you move about your day, consciously practice placing sounds and distractions in their correct placement.. How sweet the sounds!

Do you do this in your life? If not, do you think doing this practice could improve your experiences. Please share examples from your life in the comment section.