Posted On 31 May 2019
This is kind of a lengthy post and perhaps kind of incomprehensible. I apologize in advanced. Trying to put mental processes and abstract thoughts into words is a bit confusing. But, having learned about the positive effects of meditation, and really wanting to see results for myself, I've tried my best to express my feelings.
So I've just started trying to take up the practice of meditation. Just got done an ~18 minute session. I was supposed to sit down for 30 but stopped as I felt like I was doing everything wrong and wasting my time. I've understood from guides and forum posts and whatnot that if your mind wanders you should calmly and non-judgmentally refocus on the object of meditation (in my case, my breath). But this advice just seems straight up impossible to for me to follow. My mind is just too chaotic to BEGIN focus on one thing let alone refocusing on it when it wanders off.
Let me explain:
I legit can't (properly) concentrate on my breath for 5 straight seconds. It's not even like my mind wanders, I just cannot focus entirely on one thing for any period of time at all. It's like I have 2 or more consciousnesses and no matter what I do I can't shut the other one up. I could be sitting there trying to focus on breathing, and realize that in the past 30 seconds, despite me consciously not having forgotten to focus on the sensation of my breath, my brain has simultaneously come up with some random story, and for some fucking reason slowly counted to 20 before I realized what I was supposed to be doing.
At this point, I don't know what to do. My research tells me to focus on my breath and let these other thoughts fade away, but I haven't forgotten about my breath; my mind just got split in twain and semi-consciously took up 2 or more tasks. Calmly and judgmentally "refocusing" on my breath does nothing in this situation. The only possible way I found to focus on anything for longer than literally 2 straight seconds is to consciously and violently block out the constant stream of re-emerging thoughts. But from my understanding that's not the sort of non-judgemental refocusing of your attention you're supposed to do when your mind wanders.
From all the guides I've read, it seems to me like the people who write them just take for granted that being able to devote oneself to and focus on one thing for a short period of time is an innate skill that people just have. Meditation seems like it's always presented as a way to extend this skill. But I think this skill is simply something I don't have. No matter how hard I try and sit down and think about breathing my mind will immediately find something else to simultaneously focus on and me trying to let that thought pass in the non-judgemental meditative manner I keep reading about is not valid. Which leaves me wondering, Is meditation just not possible for me?