Willpower in Meditation

Question

After 1 year of meditation, a major problem I have recently is that when I focus on the meditation object, some sensations in my body are felt very strongly and my attention moves automatically to them. I try to return the focus to the meditation object but it requires will power. I guess some unconscious process moves my attention to these sensations. What should one do in this situation?

—Saeid, Germany

Answer

Thank you for your question. These types of distractions are not unusual as we begin to become more interiorized in our meditations.

There seems to be a period of time when sensations may happen more often than others. One explanation for this is that the energy or awareness is drawn inward away from the outward form. We have to adjust to that process. And as we meditate, this withdrawing energy begins to manifest as sensations, feelings, emotions and bodily energies that become more noticeable to us than when we are active. In the active state we simply are not aware of them. As we sit and close our eyes, we become more conscious of the body and mind.

Swami Kriyananda always advised to be patient with these initial sensations and continue to meditate and do your practices the best you are able. Eventually, the sensations will stop although they may continue for days or weeks. Try to avoid giving the distractions much energy or attention. Going deeper into your center with devotion and self-offering is best. You will be able to overcome, ignore or transcend them with practice. You may not notice they have stopped as your focus may have developed that powerfully. At the same time, you are developing your will power and concentration which is so helpful and necessary for your daily sadhanas.

Most of all, ask God and Guru to be with you in your meditations with gratitude and love. Ask for their guidance and blessings for your meditation and your life. Never give up!

Many blessings on your efforts.