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[Living Buddhism] Focused Meditation

I've been reading my book by the Dalai Lama, "How to Practice The Way to a Meaningful Life" and he discusses different aspects of focusing the mind. One part in particular really stuck out for me dealt with excitement and laxity, both of which prevent stable concentration during meditation. The mental laxity in particular really illustrated what often happens to me when I try to meditate. My mind will just tend to wander, I'll space out, go into a trance or sometimes I'll start to drift off to sleep. I find it very difficult to stay alert and focused and often don't try very hard to cultivate that discipline. I realized that I would never develop the focused, calm meditative state that I'm looking for unless I actually start training my mind.

So, while I was waiting for Jboy at the bus station, I wanted to try to keep my mind more focused. The only problem was that there was a lot of noise around me. I knew I wasn't going to be able to focus on my breathing without getting distracted so I decided I'd try to focus on the sounds around me. It was incredible! With a strong focus like that, I was able to keep my mind more controlled. I even started experimenting with the focus by "tuning in" different ways. I'd try picking out individual sounds or focusing on the sound in the station as a whole. By the time Jboy got there, I felt very refreshed and had no idea how long I'd been at it.

What this made me realize is that I need something very concrete to focus on until I gain more control over my mind. I think it was a good realization.
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