Many gurus, spiritual teachers and psychologists talk about how meditation is easy, relaxing and soothing. This may be true for some people. However, for those of you, like myself, who have an overactive mind, meditation doesn’t come as easy and, sometimes, it is not exactly relaxing either.
In fact, about a couple years ago, my mind was so preoccupied with some difficult circumstances I was going through, that I couldn’t even meditate. This surprised me because I had been practicing meditation and breathing exercises for over 10 years. I remember speaking to a spiritual life coach about my difficulty meditating and she told me that it was probably difficult for me to meditate because I had an overactive mind.
Meditation was supposed to be something I could use to soothe and quiet my mind. Unfortunately, it became a chore, even somewhat stressful at times.
I asked my life coach for advice and she gave some specific tips to help me with my meditation practice that actually worked and helped me quiet my mind. I believe these strategies will help anyone who has an overactive mind or has found it difficult to meditate…
1. Guided meditations
In order to help quiet my mind, I began to listen to guided relaxation before I began to meditate. I searched for guided relaxation and guided meditation on YouTube and iTunes and found some that I particularly liked. I found Davidji and really liked his guided meditations. I would listen to that and others immediately before my meditation.
2. Meditation after yoga
Another strategy I found helpful to quiet my mind is to start my meditation immediately after I had done yoga. Yoga seems to help me release some tension and makes it easier to focus my mind. So, I would start my meditation immediately after I did some yoga.
Additionally, while I meditated, I tried two different techniques that I previously had not tried that also helped me quiet my mind more:
3. Focus on a candle
I focused on a candle rather than my breath or a mantra. I don’t know why, maybe because I am more of a visual person, but looking at a candle did seem to give my mind something to concentrate on rather than my breath or a mantra.
4. Look at your third eye
Sometimes, I also would close my eyes but focus on placing my awareness or looking at my third eye or at the space where my third eye is. Again, this gave me something to focus on visually, which seemed to help my overactive mind quiet down a bit.
5. Change your attitude toward meditation
I also changed my attitude about meditation. Some of the spiritual gurus talk about how meditation should result in enlightenment, quieting your mind, or finding the “gap” between your thoughts. I have been meditating now for over 10 years and I have never been able to fully quiet my mind for a long period of time or get into the “gap” between my thoughts, let alone enlightenment.
What I have found, though, is the conscious act of coming back to placing my attention on my third eye or a candle. When my mind starts to drift during meditation, this provides me with some moments of peace and solitude.
I believe the conscious act of coming back to what you are focusing your attention on while meditating when you become distracted is as equally important as the moments of quiet you experience.
I also believe this has helped me become more disciplined with my thinking and behavior throughout the day, which tends to help me generate more peace, purpose, and gratitude as I go about my daily tasks and responsibilities. This is something that I am truly grateful for and one of the reasons why I continue to make meditation a daily practice in my life.
Matthew is the founder of Spiritual Media Blog, a place where you can learn more about meditation, mindfulness and yoga. Connect with Spiritual Media Blog’s community on Facebook and listen to their podcast on iTunes.
You too can incorporate meditation into your daily life. Deepen your meditation practice, learn to focus and nourish your soul on a yoga meditation retreat!