Are you “bad” at meditating?

Susan Brumbaugh
6 min readSep 6, 2021

Try meditating using sound as the focus.

Photo by Uday Mittal on Unsplash

Regular practice of mindfulness meditation helps to train the brain to come into the present moment — where worries and ruminations have a hard time sticking around. When we first begin meditating, our minds tend to wander a lot, and we can judge ourselves when that happens. If you think you’re “bad” at meditation, or focusing on the breath is difficult for you, you might want to try a meditation focused on sound. I find that the practice of a sound-focused meditation can be helpful if you struggle with other types of meditation — if it’s hard for you to keep your focus on your breath or keep your focus on a body scan — because the sounds that are changing from moment to moment provide a little stimulation that can be helpful.

Mindfulness is intentional focus on the present moment without judgment. This practice of paying attention to sound with a sense of curiosity— just taking it as it is — is perfect for mindfulness. Using a guided meditation first can give you some ideas of things to listen to, but once you get the hang of it, you can easily do it on your own too. The sound becomes the guidance.

I’m a licensed mental health counselor who enjoys sharing mindful meditations and information about mindfulness. Below is a transcript of a meditation I led on this topic, and at the end of the article, you’ll find a link to the meditation video. Give it a try and see what happens.

Meditation Transcript

A lot of times what I do as we transition from not meditating to meditating is to give you a chance to actually move your body a little bit. Meditation doesn’t have to be you sitting stock-still. It’s okay to move. We can move at the beginning of a meditation, stretch, lower our shoulders and unclench our jaws and just notice anything that feels tight, and loosen if it if that’s possible. When we do this kind of movement at the beginning of every meditation, it can sort of be this little positive association that comes with meditation.

I tend to close my eyes during meditation, and you can too if that’s comfortable for you. But if you have a history of trauma or you have difficulty hearing, there are lots of reasons why having your eyes open during meditation can be helpful. And if you find that in…

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Susan Brumbaugh

Susan Brumbaugh is a criminal justice researcher who telecommutes, a licensed counselor, a mindfulness meditation practitioner, and a perpetual learner.