5 Ways to Avoid Distractions While You Meditate

The quickest way to end a beautiful meditation 3 minutes in, is to a hungry kid, stressed housemate, or boisterous pet. It’s hard to build a regular meditation practice when you are constantly getting interrupted, so here’s a few tips for enjoying the whole experience.

1. Space

One of the easiest ways to avoid distractions when you meditate is to find a quiet space where you are unlikely to be distracted or disturbed. Be flexible about it, because it’s so easy to make an excuse like ‘oh, I couldn’t meditate today because I always sit under the tree in the garden but today it was … raining, full of mosquitos, too noisy due to the neighbour’s leaf blower”.

 Your meditation space doesn’t have to be a scented room with candles (though that is very lovely).  I’d suggest keeping it simple.  It could also be: 

  • in the car, parked under a shady tree after you’ve dropped the kids off to soccer.  I used to have a student who was a taxi driver and this was his preferred option!
  • in the laundry, leaning against the washing machine with the door locked with a comfortable pillow behind and underneath you.
  • in your reading room with a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door.
  • in the corner of your bedroom.

2. Gadgets

There is no denying that smartphones are fantastic but please, turn off your phones and gadgets during meditation. You can use apps like Insight Timer and program them for 10/20 mins etc.   Place them close by but not so they’ll be a distraction.

 You can also use a kitchen timer or a regular alarm clock as an alternative to your mobile phone.

 3. Timing

Timing is critical to your meditation practice and we always recommend plenty of space in between school drop-offs and the time your mother always calls. Here’s a few simple ways to minimise interruptions:

 

– Feed kids, spouses and pets before meditating.

– Don’t meditate when your housemate normally gets home from work.

– Practice your meditations when your neighbours are out (if possible!).

– Put your pets outside if they are likely interrupt you.  Pets usually love meditation so will quieten down once you start.

4. Boundaries

You definitely don’t want your kids barging in demanding snacks or your housemate needing WIFI support during meditation. Be loving and set clear boundaries with the people in your life. 

5. Partners

If you can’t get your people to stop interrupting you during meditation, why not recruit them into practicing with you. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to practice together?

6. Classes

And finally, if you’re getting interrupted every time you try to meditate you could also join group meditation classes in your local area. Meditation classes are an excellent way to build a practice, get guidance from an experienced teacher, plus ensure that you sit in your meditation for the whole 5 – 10 – 15 minutes.

Looking for meditation classes in Cairns and Far-north Queensland?

Julie runs regular classes at her rainforest home in Bayview Heights (south Cairns), as well as the Cairns Spiritual Centre and other feature destinations around Cairns, Mission Beach, and the Atherton Tablelands. Click here for more information

Why Learn to Meditate?

 
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Good question!  In my backpacker days I’d seen Tibetan monks chant as I travelled through China.  It left me with a sense of awe and inner peace.  Earlier during the same trip we had visited a monastery where monks kindly invited us to join them for yak butter tea (definitely an acquired taste!).  We spoke no Tibetan & they spoke no English.  It didn’t matter, we laughed together & they were warm & welcoming hosts.  Their natural joy seemed misplaced as their native homeland was being invaded by the Chinese.

Time passed, I emigrated to Australia & friends who were travelling around the world arrived in Cairns & shared their experiences of a Vipassana meditation retreat in New Zealand.

For 10 days they had done seated meditations which seemed very brave considering they had never meditated before.  It was physically challenging for them but they came away feeling a deep sense of connection.
They inspired me to book a 10 day silent retreat in Thailand. A mixture of walking, working & seated meditation.

An Initial Experience

I realised how busy and distracted my mind was.  As I practiced being present everything became clear.   Meals were simple but when you ate mindfully you were aware of flavours, texture, & colours. A feeling of gratitude & appreciation for the food, the nuns preparing it and our hosts naturally arose.
After lunch we would walk up a hill in the grounds that overlooked Koh Phangan. I noticed the lizards would come and sit with us.  In my garden at home now I appreciate that when we slow down, listen & focus you see the beauty of what’s around you & the wildlife comes closer.

What Meditation Gives You

We are not our thoughts, our emotions or our fantasies and when you meditate regularly you realise this. Instead of clinging & identifying with them you recognise them for what they are, events that are passing through our minds. We remember the past & get anxious about the future but that is not our truth.  As we become more present, letting go of our worries and anger, we also have more energy.
Living so externally in this material world you realise that when you go within so much is revealed.  Life becomes happier when you are calm and balanced.

Coming Home

After the retreat I returned home, life got busy and my intentions of having a regular meditation practice disappeared! Determined to reconnect to meditation I went to the local Buddhist Centre & started practicing once more.
Learning traditional Japanese Reiki in 2010 I discovered a system of Reiki that included a variety of different meditations & techniques. Practicing these over the years has deepened my practice considerably.
When you practice daily you see the benefits. It effects everyone around you – your kids, family & work colleagues.  You become calmer & more patient and this state of mind is reflected back to you.

The other wonderful thing about meditation is you can do it anywhere, on a chair, a cushion or even seated on a bed, whatever is comfortable for you.  All you need is you.

IMG_2584My goal is to inspire others to find their light within & for me, meditation is the key that unlocks that door.