The Los Angeles Times published a recent article about the benefits of meditation to prevent mind-wandering and depression.
Note the key sentence in this article that perfectly describes the goal of mind-focusing practices:
Meditation, suggests Brewer, appears to be “perfect practice” in the skills that make undistracted work a possibility: the ability to detect the first signs of mind-wandering, to recognize and essentially forgive the impulse, and then gently to draw the mind back to the task at hand.
In creative work, a habit of resistance can build up to the point where you lose the ability to work on your art. You want to do your work, but you don’t want to do it. The resistance comes from a long history of negative feedback about you and your interests and your abilities. meditation exercises, as this article points out, can be a huge step toward rewriting your thought patterns and breaking down the resistance.
some folks like meditation for its own sake. It is an escape or a relaxation–a way to let go of stress and feel renewed. I’m in favor of all those things, but this article brings out an extra emphasis. meditation helps one control the thoughts and stay focused. When we go beyond meditation for its own sake, we can see practical benefits. It’s like building up your mental muscles so you have the strength and stamina to keep your focus.
Read my post on centering for one example of a thought exercise to help build stronger mental focus.