Combating Distraction During Meditation

Meditation is concentration. Distraction kills meditation. Like a bad boy in class, distraction consumes most of our energy. Struggle starts when we combat distractions. It takes away the joy. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Battling deflates passion. Stopping distraction is an impossible-to-win tug of war. A war between the self we want and the self we don’t want. We are torn.

This is a problem. We becomes biased. We tend to only want what we like. So what we don’t like plays a game with us to get our attention. Distractions really distract us because we don’t like them and are bothered by them. So they succeed in harassing us.


On the other hand, concentration, like a charming quiet well-behaved sister, gracefully waits for our attention in silence. Concentration brings peace. It balances things. It’s a good thing. But pursuing peace of mind, we worry. We are not used to not worrying. We are less comfortable with being in peace. Absolute concentration lasts less than 10 seconds for humans. We self-destroy the hard earned peace of mind so quickly. In peace, soon the mind is filled with our usual business of paying bills, attending meetings, keeping others happy, fulfilling ambitions, and errands.

We are confused. We don’t know what we really want. To find what to concentrate on, some people consult with a rabbi, minister, fortune teller, friend, a  boss. Others attend seminars or read books. Still the answers are beyond reach. Because the answer is not out there somewhere, but within the self.

The problem with distractions is that the more you try to cut them out, the more they multiply. Each swing to knock one down begets another, distracting you more. Meditation becomes bounty-hunting for those outlaws, making you forget what you really should be doing. Concentration.

Meditation is both concentration and distraction. They are two sides of one coin. Concentration turns to distraction and distraction becomes concentration. Without distraction, there is nothing to concentrate on.

Stop being biased. Stop struggling. Treat both well and fair.