Focusing the mind during meditation sometimes seems to me like trying to shoot a bull’s-eye from 100 yards away while riding a bucking bronco!
I know for myself that I spent years in meditation practice without reaching any consistent depth and duration of focus. I was able to feel a certain degree of peace in regular practice, but felt that I was not really “getting” what it meant to truly focus my mind.
It wasn’t until I started to apprehend (and feel) all the “moving pieces” of my mind as one overall sensation, that I began to understand that my “hook” into a focused mind was through feeling…feeling into progressively subtle sensations.
In a way, it seems that mind will always bounce around, but when focused on the overall sensation of the body, the mind can be felt as a kind of distant vibration on some far periphery.
Experiencing the mind in this way (as part of the overall sensation of being) imparts an understanding that sensation can only be experienced in the moment…and feeling into subtle sensations has a deeply focusing effect on the mind. At any rate, when focused upon subtle sensations, the bouncing mind does not have as much power to distract.
I believe it is important to have the reference point of experiencing the mind as from a distance…watching the mind doing its thing, like observing a fireworks of random thought projectiles, but from afar!
The idea of “focusing the mind” then takes on a very different meaning, as the day-to-day, waking mind seems to retreat to the background…and then what comes forth is not so much an act of “focusing the mind,” but rather a primal experience of Being!