Do you want to connect with God or a Higher Source of Power, but find yourself easily distracted when praying or meditating? I know I do! Here are my three suggestions for overcoming distractions when praying, plus Gini’s three tips for staying focused while meditating. And, we’d love to hear what works for you in the comments section below…
Before the tips, a quip:
“I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in, and invite God, and his Angels thither, and when they are there, I neglect God and his Angels, for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door.” ~ John Donne.
Even theologists, spiritual leaders, and people who meditate all the time experience moments of distraction during prayer! Being distracted is normal…but we don’t have to let it disrupt our connection with God or the Universe. To learn how to pray, click How to Pray. And, read on for six ways to stay focused while mediating or praying…
3 Tips for Overcoming Distractions When Praying
Pick the right time and place to pray. My husband and I pray together every night; we both believe deeply in the power of prayer in marriage. But, we’ve found that praying just before we fall asleep while laying in bed is not the best way to pray. We’re more likely to be distracted by heavy eyelids and drifting thoughts – and we lose our connection with God. So, we’re considering praying while kneeling by the side of our bed, earlier in the evening. Minimizing external disruptions can stop you from being distracted while praying.
Keep a notepad and pen handy. Are thoughts of work, relationships, or upcoming events causing you to lose your connection with God or a higher source of power? Interrupt your prayer to write those distracting thoughts down so you don’t forget them. This momentary disruption may release you from your worries, so you can focus on spiritual matters.
Pray about your distractions! If you’re distracted by a barking dog next door, then pray for your neighbor and a peaceful community. If you’re distracted by a headache or illness, then pray for your health. Sometimes the things demanding attention are the very things we should be praying over. Instead of diverting your attention from distractions, try praying about them.
3 Ways to Stay Focused While Meditating
Tried and true methods. There are various tools taught in meditation classes that help you to stay focused when meditating. Focusing on the breath as it comes in and out of the nostrils, noticing sensations arise and disappear in the body, or feeling the subtle essence of energy flow through your whole being are ways to keep your thoughts from taking you hostage. Silently repeating a mantra or chanting out loud is another way to keep thoughts at bay while you settle into stillness. And then there is the process of stepping into the witness role and observing thoughts as they float through the mind without getting lost in them, and feeling emotions without becoming them.
Give time and space to the mind and body. Allowing the body to squirm and the mind to roam for 5 – 10 minutes at the beginning of a longer meditation session can help the mind and body to settle in later, just as a pre-school teacher might allow children to run around squealing and laughing before she asks them to sit calmly in circle time. Set aside a portion of time at the beginning of your meditation to allow racing thoughts and fidgety limbs to unwind. It will be much easier to stay focused while meditating from this point onward.
Ground the body and center the mind. The most helpful tools I’ve learned for meditating and going through daily life more peacefully are grounding and centering. When our body is fully grounded we release tension, heavy emotions and problems down our grounding (imagine an energy cord attached to your first chakra or the base of your spine that is wide and flows all the way down to the center of the planet). This supports us to be present and alert while meditating. Centering within is a process where you bring all of your conscious awareness into the center of your head (back a few inches from the forehead, where the analyzer likes to churn). This centered space is where you can be aware of yourself as a spiritual being, bigger than your mind and body. It’s a peaceful, calm place that connects you to the infinite essence of your true self.
Do you get distracted when praying or meditating – and how do you stay focused? We’d love to hear from you!
The Sedona Method offers helpful tools for letting go and releasing distractions that may help you when praying or meditating.