Concentration Meditation

Redirecting Your Course with Concentration Meditation

Concentration meditation encourages the mind to grow in the direction you want it to away from those areas you don’t want it to grow.

–Gehlek Rimpoche

Those who have suffered from trauma know how hard it can be to focus the mind or stay directed without losing course. We frequently seem to get derailed, and there’s often a lot of noise or chaos in the system. Perhaps a lot of feelings come up at once, or overwhelming sensations or even a number of competing conversations about what’s right or wrong.

Key to healing is the ability to develop concentration and, luckily, concentration meditation gives us a great way to practice direct our minds where we want it to go.

Research indicates that our minds (any mind that is, not just those who have had a history of trauma) only stay on one thing for 3-7 seconds before skipping on to the next thing. Advertising and movies have learned how to engage our minds by constantly shifting images.

Fundamental to healing trauma is learning to keep your mind steady even when overloaded with upsetting internal stimuli. And what will help you more than almost anything else is learning how to concentrate and focus. Concentration meditation will accomplish this.

What that means for those suffering from PTSD is that you can learn to focus your mind and go where you want it to go rather than being distracted and being pushed around by the many thoughts, feelings, and body sensations going on inside.

You know how dreadful it feels when you are emotionally triggered. Almost immediately you’re overtaken by the urge to do anything to shut down the overwhelm. For many that often means heading down a self-destructive path.

When something happens to throws you off course, it’s imperative that you know you can stop the negative trajectory and find your way back to a sense of stability.

Any kind of concentration meditation can help with that. It can be as simple as practicing multiplication tables. While that’s not a traditional meditation practice, it is a way to train the mind. Doing math problem focuses your mind on one thing while not giving entry to the other competing thoughts.

Adding in a spiritual component reminds us of being connected to a larger context, one in which we are held in kindness, care, and compassion. When we’re lost in the muddle of our trauma it’s harder to hold onto what can make us feel better or help us

So, just what is a concentration meditation?

All spiritual traditions have some form of concentration meditation.

  • Sufi’s whirl. As they whirl they are focusing on the movement and their breath
  • Many traditions have beads that they move through their hands while they say a prayer. Catholics say the rosary, Eastern traditions do japa, Mediterranean traditions have worry beads
  • Some traditions focus on the light of a candle as they soften their gaze
  • Singing, chanting are all forms of concentration
  • Many traditions have advanced forms of meditation that use visualization
  • When you are concentrating on doing a specific yoga posture you are doing just that – focusing the mind and training it to be with one thing, letting go of all the other things that are intruding

Loving Kindness Meditation

One form of concentration meditation that can be enormously helpful for trauma survivors is the practice of Metta, or Loving Kindness Meditation.

For simple directions on how to practice Loving Kindness Meditation click here

For more information on Loving Kindness Meditation practice click here.

Return from Concentration Meditation to Benefits of Meditation

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3 Responses to “Concentration Meditation”

  1. this doesn’t teach you how to meditate… there are no instructions or lesson of what to do, all it does it talk about doing it, which is great! but i need to be taught how to do it.

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