How Can I Improve My Concentration?

 I realize in my meditation sessions my wind is wandering all over. I keep bringing it back but I think it can be better.

In daily practice your attention will almost always drift eventually.  Still, there are three ways to help hold it on your breathing longer.  These three things are: interest, pleasure and effort.  Most people use only effort and get quite frustrated. That’s a form of suffering, so it’s counterproductive.  Learn to use the other two.

It’s great to develop concentration by using pleasure.  In meditation this pleasure can be found in a feeling of relaxing, a sense of peacefulness, or a delight of the body or mind that may be quite subtle at first.  Being aware of the pleasure of meditation naturally holds our attention on the breathing.

Using interest can be fun, too.  Pretend you’re an alien studying what it’s like to be human.  What is this phenomenon of breathing really like?  How can you tell it’s happening?  Look for the sensations that tell you if it’s deep or shallow.  Is there a pause between breaths?  Where, and how long?  If you really can’t find anything interesting about breathing, try not doing it for a few minutes.  Normally, though, it’s best to just watch how your body breathes on its own.

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