ADHD: Train your Attention Span with Self-Realization
Learning how to focus our attention.
I took Transcendental Meditation initiation in 1967 from a teacher sent to MSU by the Maharishi, then followed up with SRF Kriya Yoga initiation the following year. I learned more techniques from Hamid Bey in the Coptics.
To this day, I meditate every morning for a few minutes, using a Muse device for the past three or four years. It’s really made a positive change in my life over the decades, and I completely agree with this fellow’s experience and conclusions:
Nigel in Dublin, Ireland tells how he learned to focus his attention:
I was always a very distractible child. In school I suppose I was fortunate that I grew up in rural Ireland, and so was in a small classroom, but still I was a difficult child for my teachers. They often commented to my parents about how easily I’d drift off, or my attention would wander, or I’d interrupt the class with totally off-subject comments. I remember one teacher in particular who used to berate me with a litany of cliches like, “Nigel, an empty wagon always rattles,” or, “Even a fish wouldn’t get caught if it kept its mouth shut.”
Somehow I made it through school, and even through university, although it was a struggle. I’m very bright, probably a genius IQ, and that raw horsepower was probably the only thing that got me through.
Then, in 1984, I heard from a friend about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the man who’d taught meditation to the Beatles. One of his top guys was coming to Dublin to set up a Vedic Medicine center, and since my degree was in medicine I was interested. I went to a lecture, read some of their literature, and finally enrolled in a class in Transcendental Meditation.
At first it was difficult. The meditation practice involves sitting for twenty minutes at a time in a quiet place with your eyes closed, repeating a single sound called a mantra over and over. It’s not the “emptying your mind” that some people mistakenly think: meditation of this sort is very much a focusing of the mind.
And my mind rebelled; I’d drift off to sleep at the most inopportune times. Or else my mind would begin long thought-trains. Five minutes would have passed before I realized that I’d forgotten to say my mantra but had, instead, been thinking about a conversation I’d had the day before or some such thing.
I stuck with it, though, largely because my girlfriend, who’d joined at the same time as I, had become a fanatic enthusiast.
And after a few months, I began to notice the change.
At first, I thought it was a negative change. I noticed that I was fidgety, that my mind wandered when I didn’t want it to, and that thoughts of an impulsive nature would often intrude into my mind even when I was working in our clinic. My first conclusion was that I was seeing an increase in these sorts of mental behaviors.
Then, however, I realized the truth: I was, for the first time, actually slowing down enough that I could see how out-of-control and wild my mind actually was. These things weren’t happening more often; I was just aware of them now.
This self-realization was the beginning of an amazing transformation for me. Now that I was aware of my mental states, I could begin to take control of them. This isn’t to say it was easy: I daresay nothing I’ve ever done in my life was more difficult, at least at first. But now, after a few years of daily meditation, I find that I’m almost always aware of the state my mind is in, and that I can shift that state if I choose to.
I must add that my story is by no means unique. I’ve heard the same tale told by dozens of people who went through the meditation course. And this isn’t placebo effect or self-fulfilling expectations, I don’t believe, because it wasn’t until well after I began to get these insights that I felt compelled to discuss these things with my peers.
Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss with many of my patients their experience with Catholicism and doing the rosary. This being a largely Catholic country, it’s difficult to find somebody here who’s never said their Hail Marys’, but few people have ever done it daily for years.
Those people who have, however, I’ve made a special point of asking about their experiences. And their reports are similar to my experience: they’ve trained their minds to be more aware of their attentional states.