I often hear the question, “Why thoughts enter my mind when I try to focus?”. This is something that happens often, when the mind is not trained to focus. Here is what one reader wrote:
“I have purchased your book, “How to Focus Your Mind”. I have tried the first exercise for more than a week now. I was able to practice it with no thoughts coming into my head, but lately, I can’t even practice it more than a few moments without thoughts entering into my head and disturbing my focus. Could you give me suggestions as to why is this happening?”
Since this is a question other people ask too, I decided to post the answer on the blog, so everyone can read it.
Why Thoughts Enter Your Mind When You Try to Focus
It is quite common, when beginning to practice self-improvement, concentration or meditation, to experience something similar to what have been described in the question. You make progress, and then suddenly, you feel as if you are going back, instead of going forward. Don’t be worried about that and do not give up. Just continue with the exercise, no matter how many thoughts enter your mind and disturb your focus.
What you are experiencing is quite natural. The mind resists control and wants to wander freely from one thought to another. It has never be controlled or disciplined, and tries to resist being controlled.
Sometimes, the resistance of the mind might appear immediately, and sometimes, after a week or two. This will create the feeling that you are not making any progress.
You might also experience lack of motivation, because you do not see results. However, if you do not give up, soon will be making progress and your motivation would return. Gradually, it would become easier to focus your mind at will on anything you want, with fewer distractions and disturbances.
Stay calm while practicing concentration exercises, and continue practicing them, even if there are thoughts at the back of your mind that try to attract your attention. If you continue bringing your mind back to the exercise, over and again, you will learn to ignore the distracting thoughts and not let them disturb your concentration.
If you direct your attention to the thoughts that are trying to enter your mind, they will get stronger, but if you try to ignore and disregard them, without fighting them, they will get weaker, and eventually, leave you.
Every time thoughts enter your mind when attempting to focus, direct your attention back to the exercise. Eventually, if you persist, your focus and control of your thoughts would increase.
Do not let anything discourage you, since the benefits of concentration are too good to give up.
Be patient when your mind wanders away and when you cannot concentrate. Persevere and do not give up, and you will soon see results.
“Concentration is the secret of strength.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The jack-of-all-trades seldom is good at any. Concentrate all of your efforts on one definite chief aim.”
– Napoleon Hill
“Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim.”
– John D. Rockefeller