Successful meditation requires good concentration. However, this does not mean that you cannot meditate if you lack concentration. You can, but meditation would not be deep and focused, but it will surely benefit you.
Better concentration makes meditation easier and more beneficial.
It is like playing basketball. You can play basketball and enjoy it, even if you do not play well and are not fast enough. Some do not possess “basketball skills”, but they do play for pleasure and fun, while others are talented, train regularly, and join professional teams.
It is the same with meditation. The better your skills are, the farther you will progress, and one of the most important skills, which highly benefits meditation, is concentration.
What happens when you start to meditate? Do you discover after a few minutes that you stopped meditating, and started thinking about something else?
This happens, due to lack of concentration and the inability to focus the mind. This occurs not just with meditation, but with every other activity, be it work, study, or anything else that requires focusing the attention.
It is the habit of the mind to be in constant movement, to jump from one thought to another, and never to stand still. You can change this habit, you can make your mind obedient and calm, and there are different ways of doing so. You need to hold the reins of your mind, if you want to progress on the path of meditation.
I would like to mention here the various reasons why concentration and a focused mind are essential for meditation.
I would like to point out that lack of concentration should not deter you from meditating. With persistence and discipline, your focus would improve.
Why You Need Concentration for Better Meditation
Without concentration, your mind will wander from one thought to another, and that’s not meditation.
Sitting down for ten, twenty, or thirty minutes, with the intention to meditate, but instead, just daydreaming and thinking about everything under the sun is not meditation.
If your mind wanders away, and it will do so many times, stay calm, do not get upset, and bring your mind to the mediation over and again. With persistence and firmness, your concentration and meditation would improve and you will have better control of your mind.
If you cannot concentrate, and you always find yourself thinking about your work, about your lunch, the movie you saw yesterday, or about what you would do in the evening, your mind will keep active and unsettled.
Meditation is supposed to give rest to the mind, not make it restless. This is a waste your time.
However, if you can hold your attention on the meditation, and not let it go away, you use your time efficiently.
You can sit down to meditate for 20 minutes, but you use only 5% of the time, and the rest of the time will be wasted on meaningless thoughts and on daydreaming. With practice and experience, it is possible to use effectively 10%, 20% and even 100% of the 20 minutes for meditation.
You need to focus, and not allow other thoughts distract your attention. To do so, you need willpower and self-discipline.
If you daydream or let your mind fly from one thought to another like a butterfly, there is no meditation and no progress.
Focusing on one thought or topic prevents other thoughts from entering your mind. It is like having a gatekeeper that keeps unwanted visitors away.
The better you can concentrate on your meditation the easier it is to disregard distracting thoughts. With fewer thoughts in your mind, you become calm, happy and less worried.
When you sit down, relax your body, and start meditating, the body and the mind get quieter. The mind is not accustomed to this quietude, and therefore, various thoughts and memories might arise from the subconscious mind and attract your attention.
This is another reason why you need concentration for meditation. It will help you stop the constant flow of thoughts and memories in your mind. These thoughts and memories are often negative and weakening, or about things you have read, heard or seen, and are often of no importance.
Concentration is the power enables you to fix your attention in one place, and allow meditation to proceed. Together, they calm down the chatter and inner conversations your mind, and allow inner peace to rise within you.
As the mind gets quieter, you enter into a state of inner peace. This leads to heightened awareness, a sense of bliss, insight, and better understanding of life.
These are a few of the main reasons, why you need the ability to concentrate when you meditate. It would be most useful to train the mind to focus, as it would improve your meditation and make it more rewarding.