focusThe modern world is busy. People have to face a constant onslaught of information and deal with it on top of the already hectic rush of life.

It’s no wonder you want to make time to just sit and stop thinking about everything.

But making time for meditation, to achieve this, is very different to taking a break in which you kick back and watch some brainless telly. Taking a break for a hobby does allow you to step back from the real world. Reading a book, playing a game, watching a film will all take you away from reality for a short period of time, will let your mind have some time to be concerned with something that doesn’t really matter.

But meditation is a very different kind of break.

Meditation clears your mind of the clutter. When meditating, your mind has to be as clear as you can possible make it, but it’s not about making your mind wholly empty.

Rather, it is about training your mind to focus.

In clearing your head of all the nonsense thrust upon you by the pressures of life, you take a moment to think just about you. To become fully aware of your current mental and physical state. When you empty out all thoughts of things that are bothering you or nagging at you – when you take fifteen minutes away from them just to recover from their stress – you are given a momentary glimpse into your core.

When you have successfully blocked out the things that normally bug you, that is when you are at your most mindful. That is when you are most likely to be aware of your full self.

You get to see how, deep down, you can cope with the real world.

If your mind wanders, don’t worry. That’s what minds do. Especially minds that are used to having to deal with ten different things at once.

It can help to pick one thing about you that can register and grip onto. Count the number of breaths you take. Or count the number of times your heart beats. Direct your attention inwards, towards yourself, and let everything else drift away. Push through if you get bored or distracted. Remember that, while you are meditating, the most important thing is to remain focused until you are refreshed.

This will train your mind, not just to be able to regenerate its calm at short notice, but also to be aware of everything during the rush. If you cultivate meditation as a habit, soon enough you will be able to make yourself fully self-aware even when you’re in the midst of the day’s hassles. You will be more mindful of the signals your body and mind send you as well as of the world around you.

A clear mind is supposed to make you more aware. Don’t try to make your mind so empty that it loses that ability. The purpose of meditation is to strengthen it.

Remember this and your meditation will guide you through a more mindful life.

 Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.