One common issue when you first start out meditating is it is hard to get the mind to stay still during the period of the meditation. Whether the meditation is guided or unguided, in the first minutes or even hours of sitting down, nothing seems to be happening other than your own battle with the myriad of things going on inside the head. The mind keeps jumping from one conversation to another or slipping away into its own agenda. This makes you find the meditation either boring or a battle in itself.
And oftentimes, the higher expectation we have for the meditation, be it either a feeling of peace or something magical, the more intense the battle becomes. Sitting alone with the mind and witnessing how unruly it is can be uneasy and is likely to make one impatient.
But the training in meditation is much about the attitude of meditation itself. Before going into one, the foremost requirement is to let go of any expectation, because mindfulness meditation is more about being with the experience than getting an outcome. Focusing the mind is only the other half of the equation that comes after you let go of distractions.
Think of a distracted mind as a diamond covered in dust. After you wipe off the dust – by releasing any distractions, the diamond is revealed. A focused mind will shine after all the dust is cleaned off of its surface.
Being okay with any experience you have and accepting it is a key part to the practice. Whether the distraction is a thought, an emotion, or something that happens in the room like a sound, when you accept anything that comes to your meditation, these distractions no longer have a hold of you.
An expectation in itself is the biggest distraction. So the more you let go of it, the easier it is for you to enjoy your meditation. The joy of meditation often comes when you least expect it.