The Power of Concentration
When I was a child, I saw how a magnifying glass could burn a piece of paper, when the rays of the sun were focused through it. The fire could start only when the sun’s rays were concentrated to a small point. When the magnifying glass was moved too far away or too close to the paper, the rays were not focused enough and nothing happened. This experience describes vividly the power of concentration.
This power can be described as focused attention. It is the ability to direct the attention to one single thought or subject, to the exclusion of everything else.
When our mind is focused, our energies are not dissipated on irrelevant activities or thoughts. This is why developing concentration is essential to anyone who aspires to take charge of his or her life. This skill is essential for every kind of success. Without it, our efforts get scattered, but with it, we can accomplish great things.
Concentration has many uses and benefits. It assists in studying and understanding faster, improves the memory, and helps in focusing on any task, job, activity or goal, and achieving it more easily and efficiently. It is also required for developing psychic powers, and is a powerful tool for the efficient use of creative visualization.
When this ability is developed, the mind obeys us more readily and does not engage in futile, negative thoughts or worries. We gain mental mastery and we experience true peace of mind.
This ability also plays an important role in meditation. Without it, the mind just jumps restlessly from one thought to another, not allowing us to meditate properly.
Do you now realize, why it is very important and worthwhile to develop and improve the ability to concentrate?
To develop this power you need to train and exercise it. Forget all your excuses about not having the time or being too busy. Do not say that the circumstances are not appropriate or that you cannot find a quiet place to exercise. With a little planning, desire and motivation you can always find the time to exercise each day, no matter how busy you are.
The Restless Mind
Thoughts claim our attention incessantly, and waste our time and energy on unimportant and useless matters. They actually rule our life. We have become so used to this slavery, that we take it for granted, and have become unconscious of this habit, except on certain occasions.
While breathing, we do not need to pay attention to each inhalation and exhalation. We become conscious of the process of breathing, only when we have some difficulty with breathing, such as when our nose is clogged, due to a cold, or when we are in an unventilated room.
It is the same with thinking. We become conscious of the constant onslaught of our thoughts, and of our inability to calm them down, only when we need to concentrate, solve a problem or study. We are also acutely aware of them when we have worries or fears.
Look at the following familiar situation. You need to study something for your job or for an exam. You sit comfortably on the sofa with the book in your hands and start reading. After a while you feel hungry and go to the kitchen to eat something.
You return to read, and then hear you people talking outside. You listen to them for several moments and then bring your attention back to the book.
After a while you feel restless and switch on the radio to listen to some music. You continue to read for a little while, and then remember something that happened yesterday, and you start thinking about it.
When you look at your watch, you are amazed to find out that one complete hour has passed and you have hardly read anything.
This is what happens when one lacks concentration. Imagine what you could have accomplished, if you could control your attention and focus your mind!
Work that requires physical strength, such as carrying heavy loads for example, develops physical strength. Yet, it is not as exercising daily to the gym in a systematic manner. It is the same with concentration. Reading, studying and trying to pay attention to what we do, develop some of this ability, but practicing exercises diligently each day is something else, it is like training in a gym.
Inner resistance to developing concentration
In order to develop this ability we have to train our minds. Most people think that concentration is a strenuous and tiring activity, and that it involves exertion and tension, which are difficult and unpleasant.
Concentration can be fun, if approached in the right way. It should be practiced with joy, positive attitude, optimism, and understanding of its great possibilities.
The benefits of developing concentration
Sometimes you can find strong powers of concentration in yourself. When you really and earnestly want to excel in your studies, pass an important exam or solve a problem, this power becomes available to you. In such cases, it appears because of some need or desire, but developing it in a systematic way brings it under your control, and grants you the ability to use it intentionally, whenever you need it. To do so, you need to practice special exercises on a daily basis.
Here is what you can gain by developing this power:
-Control of your thoughts.
-The ability to focus your mind.
-Peace of mind.
-Freedom from futile and annoying thoughts.
-The ability to choose your thoughts.
-The ability to study and comprehend more quickly.
-Enhanced capability to develop psychic abilities.
-More powerful and efficient use of creative visualization.
-Enhanced ability to meditate.
-And much more…
Seems too good to be true? Develop the power of concentration and find out for yourself!
What is Concentration?
What is concentration? What do you know about it?
Concentration is the ability to direct one’s attention in accordance with one’s will. It means control of the attention. It is the ability to focus the mind on one subject, object or thought, and at the same time exclude from the mind every other unrelated thoughts, ideas, feelings and sensations.
It also means the ability to do one thing at a time, instead of jumping from one subject to another and losing attention, time, and energy.
Concentration is a state, in which one’s whole attention is engrossed in one thing only, and being oblivious to everything else. During concentration, the mind focuses on the object of concentration, and only one thought occupies the mind. The whole energy of the mind becomes concentrated on this one thought.
The ability to command the mind and control the attention is not common, and requires training. Most people lack the ability to control their attention and focus the mind exclusively on one subject for any length of time. They can’t command their mind to concentrate, whenever they want to. However, concentration is not uncommon activity. It happens almost everyday, to almost everyone, but it is more of a spontaneous and uncontrolled ability.
Have you noticed how children don’t even hear you when they are playing? They become fully engrossed in their game, almost oblivious to everything else.
When you read a book that is very interesting, you do not hear people shouting or calling your name. You become oblivious to your surroundings, and lose any sense of time.
This also happens when you write an important letter, watch a movie or a game, play chess or cards, or when you are engaged in any other activity that you love doing, is interesting, or is enjoyable.
This shows that a state of concentrated attention is possible. However, true concentration is different. It is a more of a conscious and intended process, in which you focus your mind at will, whenever you want, on whatever subject, for a certain period of time, not just for a few seconds. It is the ability to focus the mind not only on pleasurable and enjoyable things and activities that you love, but also on your chores and tasks, on your work or studies, and on boring and uninteresting things that you need or have to do.
Do you now know a little more what is concentration?
Being able to concentrate the mind is crucial for success in every area of life, in material and financial matters, self-improvement and spirituality. It helps you avoid being distracted, and saves you time and energy. You need it for handling your daily affairs of life, for pursuing your goals, for developing new habits and abilities, and for meditation and gaining inner peace.
Focusing and Controlling the Mind
The mind is the thinking engine that you use for many purposes. Do you have control over it? Can you focus your mind on what you think and do, or does your mind evade control and is disobedient?
Read the following text and find out if your mind is steady:
My mind is stable and I have full control over it.
It is steady and does not waver.
You use your mind in almost everything you do, and you surely appreciate a mind that is focused. You have probably been in situations where you wished your mind was more focused.
Your thinking becomes clearer and to the point and your memory improves, after you strengthen your control over your mind. You are then in a better position to follow your decisions, goals and ambitions.
When your mind is not focused, it jumps quickly from one thought to another, and shows restlessness and lack of inner peace.
When your mind is focused and concentrated it becomes quieter and more obedient, and you see and understand everything better, faster and more clearly.
The Importance of the Power of Attention
We all know that attention is a very desirable skill, but how many possess it? I don’t need to tell you why it is important, and what are its uses and benefits. It is a must for every person who desires to succeed, whether on a minor or a major scale, whether in the material or spiritual world. In order to gain success you need to be able to focus your mind, and to calm down its restlessness and tendency to constantly shift from one subject to another.
Every act needs attention for its successful performance. Working, talking, conversing, studying and playing require attention. Even washing, cleaning the house or cooking require it, in order to be handled efficiently.
People are not born with the power of attention. It has to be developed. Its development and training starts from a very early age. We try to grab the attention of a baby by making strange noises. Later we focus the attention of the child by reading him/her stories. As the children grow up they are required to concentrate on whatever they study or read. All of these activities help to some extent to develop and focus the power of attention, but they are not enough.
There are times when the attention becomes very strong, though involuntarily, and without exercising real control over it. You have certainly experienced a few times a total blankness to the outside world, when you were absorbed in an interesting thriller or while reading a captivating book. This usually happens when we engage in activities that we enjoy and love.
For this ability to be useful, it should be under the control of your will. You have to be able to decide where and when to focus your mind. Real and effective power of attention should be under your control, and you should be able to exercise it whenever you need it.
Every day you are presented with plenty of opportunities to strengthen the power of your attention. Actually, every action can be turned into an exercise. Hold your mind on whatever you do, and try to concentrate without deviating to something else. It is true that special concentration exercises are necessary, but if you cannot find the time and place to perform them, you can turn the whole day into an enjoyable exercise. Focus on whatever you do, and in time your ability would increase.
In this way you will not only strengthen your attention and concentration, but everything you do will be done better, more efficiently, and even faster. In time, as your attention gets stronger, thoughts will lose their power to distract you, and you will find that you can absorb yourself in whatever you do. This will increase your efficiency, and make you enjoy whatever you do.
Here a few suggestions for developing and strengthening the power of attention:
# When reading a book, focus your eyes and mind on the words, and do not to think of anything not connected with what you are reading. Ignore outside noises and any irrelevant thoughts.
# Dress up, and at the same time put your whole attention on your movements.
# While having a shower, pay attention to every part of the body that you are soaping and washing.
# When you clean the house, mow the grass or cook, concentrate on each act and movement, without daydreaming or thinking about something else.
# While working, focus your mind on what you are doing, as if it is the only important thing in the world, even if you do not like your job.
# While working up, walking or engaging in any kind of physical activity, don’t daydream or think on whatever enters your mind. Instead, focus your attention on what you are doing.
# While conversing, listen attentively to what people are saying.
# While eating, focus your mind or your food and on enjoying it.
# Always do one thing at a time.
You don’t have to do all the above, all the time. Even a few minutes, now and then, will do wonders for you, and develop your powers of attention. Persevere, and you will gain a very useful ability, which will help you on many occasions in your life.
A Little Black Pen