Meditation Benefits: Dealing with Distractions in Meditation

Dealing with Distractions in Meditation is really an opportunity for practice. There are many types of distractions that arise during meditation, they can be a thought that catches your attention, sometimes they’re a sensation in the body or they can be noises in our environment.

Meditation Benefits: Dealing with Distractions in Meditation

Dealing with Distractions in Meditation


Elbert Hubbard an American writer and philosopher, was quoted as saying “Life is one damned thing after another,” and meditation is the practice of letting go of ‘one damn thing after another.’  

One of the first practices in mind-training is to bring your attention to a point of focus, witness the rising images and thoughts and then let go of the distractions. The problem is that in trying to ‘control’ your thoughts it is easy to get caught up in the idea that they are your adversaries.

About dealing with distraction and, seeing them as your adversaries, Zen master Wolfgang Kopp, expressed it this way, “many are of the opinion that once the evil intellect is suppressed, the ardently desired nirvana will automatically reveal itself. It cannot be stressed enough that this belief has not the least to do the true practice of Zen. The point is not to suppress thought, but rather to surpass it.”  

Distractions are not your enemy, you should treat them with the same kindness that you would your five year old who innocently wanders away from you. You find them, take them gently by the hand and lead them back to where they should be.

Speaking of children and distractions, Olivia Rosewood wrote a wonderful post about meditation, children and distractions. As parents of young children it can sometimes feel as if there are almost insurmountable obstacles to a peaceful meditation. Olivia notes how many of her friends, who are moms, become frustrated when they try to meditate because of the distractions and interruptions created by their young children.

Here are Olivia’s amusing thoughts and insights on meditation and distractions, beginning with…    

“…Eckhart Tolle espouses the simple yet profound encouragement to “allow what is without resistance.”

In fact, Eckhart has spoken at length about meditation practice and children. His most poignant recommendation, from my point of view, is not to yell harshly at your child when they interrupt your meditation practice. You are sitting quietly on your silk pillow, breathing, perhaps repeating a mantra silently. A child bursts in the room screaming and tackles you. How do you react? Scold? Ignore? Hug?

A meditation practice is just that: practice. Practice for what? Practice for life. It is practice for dealing with life as peacefully and receptively as possible, not just superficially, but on the inside, too. So if your child interrupts your practice, it’s no longer practice, it becomes real. Therefore hug the child, love the child, and if you can, resume your practice afterward. If you can’t resume your practice, whether it is energy cultivation or silent sitting, then practice is over and the game is on. How loving, receptive, and calm can you be in real life? Can you have boundaries without being reactive or emotionally volatile? Can you bring the principles of a meditative practice into your parenting style?

On my second trip to India, my meditation teacher felt it was in my best interest to sit in the basement of the ashram for several hours a day first in a mantra practice, and then sitting in silence. This kind of meditation is my idea of sheer heaven: the peace, the depth, the inner quiet are so blissful. Except that just outside of the ashram was a graveyard, and wandering that graveyard shouting out prayers to Shiva for his own personal reasons until sunset was a devoted older man gifted not only with loud voice that carried well, but also gifted with a bullhorn. It was through that bullhorn that he shouted his prayers to Shiva. One early morning, I wandered out to this gentleman in the graveyard and asked him why he shouted, and why the bullhorn? He told me that Shiva was more likely to hear him if he was as loud as possible. He said it with the sweetest smile that I realized there was nothing more for us to talk about. He was on a sincere mission, and I loved his devotion to it. “I understand. Thank you. I know Shiva will hear you.” I told him.

Directly on the other side of the little ashram was a wedding celebration center. In India, weddings can last as long as five days, and they are serious about their celebration. They are beautiful, ornate, full of joy, and constantly accompanied by dancing music. I learned that many Indian newlyweds love to have Celine Dion and Cher alternately played all day and night through surprisingly high-tech speakers that seem to penetrate thick walls — as though they don’t even exist.

Sitting in meditation in the basement of the ashram, my friend blasting his prayers to Shiva on one side, and a very happy bride and groom with all of their loved ones pleasantly rocking out to “I’m Alive” and then “My Heart Will Go On,” I experienced a deep surrender. As soon as I let go of resisting the sounds around me, I not only stopped giving them attention, but they disappeared deeply into the background, passing through my awareness like a cloud passes peacefully through a sky. It was such a relief to stop resisting what was unchangeable. (Well, perhaps I could have changed it, but that would have required great effort. And I had no desire to rain on anyone else’s beautiful journey.)

It’s since then that I can meditate no matter the noise level. And now that I, too, have children who like to be children, this “allowing” really comes in handy” Read more..

You may not have learned to meditate while being blasted from one side with prayers to Shiva or distracted by wedding music on the other. Yet anybody who has tried to sit it quiet solitude, even if they were sitting in a cave in the wilderness, as had to deal with distractions in meditation.  

Meditation, as Olivia points out, is a practice and it’s a gentle practice, so if you face a thousand distractions, whether in the mind, the body or the environment, like the young child you gently return to your meditation a thousand times, without judgment.

With the consistency of practice you will naturally let go of trying to control your mind, as you strive for stillness, and as Sally Kempton said, “simply let it be.” The paradox is that when that happens you will be able to deal with all the distractions in your meditation.

Please share  your thoughts on meditating with distractions, what works for you.


I wanted to share with you Olivia’s video on silent meditation practice.

Please Meditate Part 5

Please meditate. You can try it at a sidewalk cafe while you wait for your lunch to be served. Simply stop thinking and feel the peace of being wash over you. Be stillness amidst hustle and bustle. Experts agree that meditation is as essential to overall health as good diet and regular exercise.

Here’s a another way you can help.

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Bringing Happiness to American one Meditation Benefit at a Time

Bringing Happiness to American is a Meditation Benefit

Bringing Happiness to American is a Meditation Benefit

According to the wisdom traditions the purpose of our lives, the reason we are here, is the expansion of happiness, called in Sanskrit, Lila, meaning creative play. So how does happiness become a meditation benefit? Meditation alters the brain in a number of positive ways by releasing neurotransmitters, but meditation also increases your awareness and you recognize that you set the intention, deciding to live a life that reflects your right to happiness. Meditation helps us see that we can change the plotline of our lives.



In this article, Craig Wilson, decide that he too would pursue happiness and as he said ‘not try to capture it.’ His pursuit led him to a new book by Sharon Salzberg, “Real Happiness,” which is a 28 day meditation program. And what did Craig learn? I’ll let him tell you in his own words…

“We aren’t always happy, of course. And when we’re not, we wonder why. What’s wrong with us? Why aren’t we happy?

I have a friend who is perplexed by all this. He wonders why people believe happiness is part of the bargain, why they assume happiness should fill our daily lives. I have no answer for him. I always thought we were supposed to pursue happiness, not capture it.

Some people think happiness is a choice. A little girl in the new Australian movie The Tree tells her friend that she can be happy or she can be sad, so she has decided to be happy. What does she know? She spends most of her time up in a tree. Maybe that’s the secret.

A book titled Real Happiness came out earlier this year and touts a 28-day program on meditation. I brought it home because it came with a CD that literally promises happiness. Real happiness. Says so right there on the cover.

Sharon Salzberg, who speaks oh-so-softly to me on the CD, keeps advising me to “let go” and reminds me that I am allowed to “begin again” over and over. This makes me happy since I keep getting distracted and continually need to start over.

I won’t say I’ve progressed to the real happiness stage yet, but …

I also like it when she doesn’t talk for long periods of time and then suddenly reappears, reiterating that it’s perfectly fine to start over, begin again. To let go.

Which might be what the Danes do so successfully. Letting go.

Denmark once again has come out on top as the happiest country in the world. I was in Copenhagen last year, and I have to admit, they seemed like a happy bunch. Pretty, too. Maybe that’s the key. Maybe it’s easier to be happy if you’re pretty. They might be on to something. Beer also appears to make Danes happy.

Countries were ranked by one of those “better life” indexes that measures 11 different quality-of-life categories — housing, income, education and health among them. Canada came in second, followed by Norway, Australia and the Netherlands. The United States didn’t even make the top 10.

What are we doing wrong, do you think?

Not enough vacation time? Americans don’t use all of theirs.

Not enough beer? I doubt that’s the problem.

Not enough pretty, thin blondes? Could be.

Maybe we should just listen to the woman on the meditation CD again. The one who promises real happiness.

Let go. Slow down. Begin again.

And maybe have a danish.” Click here to visit the original source of this post

The real benefit of meditation is awakening to how our mind works, how we can become caught up in patterns of negative thought. When we realize that negative mindsets of doubts, concerns and conflicts are dominating our thinking, and by shinning the light of that awareness on our thinking, we can begin moving towards a deeper inner peace.

That does not means that we have to, or even could, ‘captured it,’ because the life is change and with change can come a discomfort and discontentment and a longing for something different. The benefit of meditation is the discovery that we are independent of anything or anyone and so we find a deeper contentment and inner peace, which is real happiness.