DCameronMauch wrote: And/or (does this happen to anyone else?) completely random songs that I haven't heard in forever. Kind of strange to be trying to meditate when your mind suddenly wants to start playing "Whip It!" by Devo....
...Now is different. I don't seem to have a concentration issue in general. I can sit down and write complex programs all day long. But soon as something in me realizes that I am trying to meditate, the mind noise level drastically increases. I have tried body sensation awareness, like breathing, heart beat, tracing up/down spine with breathing, and whole body. Tried relaxing music, guided meditation audio, etc. But keeping my focus on the present is extremely difficult. I can only manage it for 5 to 10 seconds at a time. It's like trying to get a solid grip on a greased up seal that really doesn't want to be there. Strange imagery. But this difficulty has that squirmy/slippery feel to it. It seems that my mind/ego is literally throwing everything it has at my awareness to keep me distracted. Some random thought pulls me away from the present. At some point I realize and snap back. But only very briefly. Or my awareness of some object (such as heart beat) gets clouded and lost. Don't know how else to describe. Have to focus very hard to find it again, but then it just slips away again. Or, lastly, I very suddenly fall asleep.
Not being able to meditate is very frustrating. Especially since is used to be to easy, relatively speaking. I really don't know how to get past this. And I don't seem to be making any progress.
I am very glad I discovered this thread while sifting through google, because this is exactly word for word my experience with meditation, yes I get random songs from 8 years back as well.
I am particularly wary of Eckhart Tolle's seeming dolled up badge engineering of old meditation traditions and feel he is often unhealthily declaring war on the mind, and what do you get in return, more war, the mind retaliates.
My experience differs from yours as I had two life changing experiences both experienced by deep states of peace and no thought followed by transformation before I had any idea of what meditation was (both lying down on my side and not in a lotus position I might add). It was then that I unfortunately started seeking the answers outside and discovered Eckhart Tolle as well as a host of other meditation books, I am now very well read on the subject and like you futher from stillness than I ever was, Eckhart Tolle being the least convincing and suspect material I've read on the subject so far.
All I can say is this, I suggest dropping everything you've learned about meditation, refuse to think or analyse it, drop all that you've read through Eckhart. Instead ask yourself have you ever given yourself the time to truly give yourself a break and rest? Just give yourself sometime to rest in peace and take some time out. I need not say anymore the rest will come intuitively, it seems meditation subjects are often overcooked but really you'll find the answers come from within.