Distractions are inevitable. There’s always going to be distractions, whether it’s a barking dog, a car alarm, a crying baby, loud people, etc etc. Distractions will always be there. But, the key to concentration and meditation is to not be distracted by the distractions. Beginning meditators will have the hardest time for the first few years of their practice to be able to sit down with distractions and meditate through them and blocking them out.
An important lesson is with mindfulness. When you are sitting during meditation and a door opens, a phone rings, or a dog barks, whatever it may be – when that distraction arises, don’t think “Ah, that noise is distracting me!” Instead, simply be mindful of what it is that you heard or felt and continue with your meditation. So if during meditation your phone rings or you get a text message, simply notate in your mind “phone” or “ringing” and continue with whatever it is your meditating on.
It is also important to have an object of meditation, something to focus on. Most commonly and traditionally, this object of meditation is our breath. Either by counting your breath or simply keeping track of the air entering and exiting your nose, or the rise and fall of your abdomen, this is what will keep you focused. So when a distraction arises (whether it’s a sound, thought, smell or feeling), simply be mindful of it and go back to the object of meditation.
Smile and be well!