I believe in the power of the mind and I often refer to the quote “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” so with that as a foundation on my journey towards reintegration, I know that my mind is the most powerful tool but also realize it can be my biggest enemy.
As much I as I know that I should stop procrastination I struggle to focus my mind and just get things done.
As much as I know that I am capable to accomplish what I set out to do there’s a voice in my mind undermining that by injection doubt if I’m good enough, and
As much as I know that I should focus on and enjoy the moment my mind is often racing away playing with future pleasures, worries, dreams and fears.
So how do I focus my mind to leverage the power of if and stop having it sabotaging my intentions and actions?
Most people will advice taking up regular practice in meditation. I’ve tried to implement that habit at home and typically it goes like this:
I sit down in a yogi-ish position, slightly uncomfortably but with attention on posture I can keep it for 15 min (at least I think so, my mind always gives up before that). I empty my mind of thoughts… right… NOT… but at least I’ve learned that it’s easier with a mental distraction and I’ve had the most success with focus on breathing so I try to slow down my breathing and focus my mind on following the air flowing in and out.
After 3-4 seconds my mind starts racing: “Is this the right way? When will I reach nirvana? Did I send that email? No, back to the breathing. Ohh, I’m hungry. That’s an ambulance passing on the street. Accident or crime? The last CSI episode was good. What’s the name of that actor again? No, back to breathing. Focus on the moment! Wonder what it would be like to be able to empty my mind of thought? Can the yogis really do that or they just faking it? My back starts to hurt. I feel like a Caesar’s salad. This is a waste of time. Oh, only 3 minutes? Ok, I’ll try harder tomorrow. Ahh, nice to stretch my legs!”
And this happens every time, over anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes.
Working with my own life coach I’ve decided to make a new effort to learn to focus my mind. I’ve decided to stop calling it mediation to free myself from my mental images of levitating yogis and the anxiousness of not achieving that within in the first 10 minutes of meditation.
I now call it mindfulness because it sounds more 2000-something and then I feel that it’s ok to relax about the lotus position and the idea of an empty mind as the start and be all of learning to focus my mind.
On the advice of my life coach I started looking into audio aids to help me and after some internet research I decided to try two tools, one tool focused on medit.. I mean mindfulness practice as an activity, and the second one focused on helping to focus my mind to increase concentration and productivity. I’ll start with the first one: calm.com and get back to you on the second one Focus@Will.
So I’ve spent 3 weeks now with Calm.com. A simple little app that in it’s simplicity is brilliant. In the web version you choose a scenery, and either a guided meditation or just relaxing music, set the time from 2 to 20 minutes and off you go into bliss!
Well, kind of. There’s no magic here but I do feel that it really helps me to block out the mental noise and quickly bring me back when my mind does wander off.
I got so hooked that I downloaded the mobile app as well and went Pro which gives me access to loads of different meditation programs such as Calm, Energy, Sleep, Compassion, Creativity and more. The best part of the app is actually a simple little notification to remind me to take my daily dose of calm. It has helped me many times for stop, take 5 min with the app to refocus before continuing my busy day.
Try it out on calm.com and let us know in the comments what you think! If you have tips on other apps doing something similar we’d love to hear about them as well.