Meditating is about being able to completely switch off from the outside world and to turn inwards, about being able to focus on your own thoughts, or silence them completely. Of course with so many distractions in our day-to-day lives this can be very hard and we can find ourselves constantly losing track of our concentration and starting trains of thought. There are some ways though to help you to focus, which we will examine below.
Find a quiet place: Firstly it is important that you will not be disturbed and that you will be comfortable. It is not good trying to meditate if people are going to be walking in and out of the room all the time as this will jolt you out of your state of calm. Similarly make sure you have been to the toilet and that you have a glass of water near should you want it.
Do not place too much pressure on it: A major mistake with many people who learn meditation is that they expect to have miraculous results right away. At the same time they try to completely forbid themselves from having any thoughts at all, from itching, or from getting up to move at all. Obviously this is trying not to think of a pink elephant and immediately you will find yourself reflecting on your lack of reflection and thinking about your silent thoughts… while completely covered in itches. Instead allow your thoughts to drift and scratch or move yourself if you have the urge.
Put worries aside: One thing you must do though is to turn off any thoughts of your commitments or jobs that need doing and basically anything that makes you stressed or worried. There is nothing you can do about these things right now, so you should agree to put them in a box and to come back to them when you are finished – you can rest assured they'll still be there.
Relax your muscles: To relax your mind it can be very helpful to first relax your body. To achieve this you can use a simple technique by first tensing each muscle and then allowing it to relax completely. By first tensing this makes it much easier and much more apparent when you relax and you will end up feeling like jelly. Go through your muscles one at a time and gradually fall into a deeper level of calm as you do. Do not neglect your smaller muscles either – the tiny muscles in your feet and toes and the muscles in your face holding your expression. Each has to be fully relaxed.
Find something to focus on: The easiest way to silence your thoughts is to focus on something – for example a point in your visual field, or your own breathing. If you concentrate on these hard enough then you will lose track of your conscious thoughts and create a calm.
Get a relaxation/meditation tape: Another thing to concentrate on to silence your thoughts is to listen to some relaxing music that can again give you something to focus on. This mustn't have lyrics and a good option would be a piece of music specially designed for this purpose.