The Power of Concentration
“The powers of the mind are like the rays of the sun. When they are concentrated, they illumine.” – Swami Vivekananda
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 on one point. The fire could only be ignited, when the sun’s rays were concentrated on 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, how the power of concentration works. It is a skill, which enables you to fix your attention on one single thought or subject, while at the same time excluding from your awareness everything else.
“The power of concentration manifests as focused attention and as a one pointed mind.”
When you focus your mind, you conserve your energies and do not dissipate them on irrelevant thoughts or activities. This is why, developing concentration is vital for anyone aspiring to be more efficient and take charge of his or her life. This skill is vital for every kind of success. Without it, your efforts get scattered, but with it, you can accomplish great things.
Concentration has many uses and benefits. It assists in studying, enables faster comprehension, improves the memory, helps in focusing on a task, job or goal, and therefore, achieving them more easily and efficiently. It is a powerful tool for the efficient use of creative visualization, and it also helps in developing psychic powers.
When this ability is strong, the mind obeys you more readily and does not engage in futile, negative thoughts or worries. This ability plays an important role in meditation, gaining mental mastery, and attaining peace of mind.
Without it, the mind just jumps restlessly from one thought to another, not allowing you 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 constantly, wasting our time and energy on unimportant and useless matters. They actually, rule our life. We have become so used to this condition that we regard it as natural.
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.
Examine this 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 the book, but a few moments later you hear 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 music. You continue reading a few moments, and then remember an incident that happened yesterday, and 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!
A job that requires physical strength, such as carrying heavy loads, for example, strengthen the muscles. However, it is not the same as exercising daily in a gym. Reading and studying, exercise the mind, but to gain strong concentration, you need to practice exercises every day, just like training in a gym.
Inner resistance to developing concentration
To develop this ability, you have to train your mind. Most people believe that concentration is a strenuous and tiring activity, and that it involves exertion and tension, which are difficult and unpleasant. This belief, which usually starts at an early age, is not true.
Parents and teachers expect children to study, do their homework and get good grades. Sometimes, they use disciplinary measures against the children. This makes the children feel forced to do something they don’t like doing.
Telling a child often, that he or she is not concentrating well enough, creates a subconscious aversion to concentration and study. These become associated with coercion, lack of freedom, and doing something they do not like to do. When children grow up, it is no wonder that their power of concentration is too weak.
Though most people would admit that good concentration is a great asset, yet, most of them, do nothing to strengthen it, because they don’t know how, and because they lack the motivation to do so.
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 the power of concentration
There are many benefits to developing the power of concentration. Here are a few of them:
- 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.
- Better memory.
- Improved Self-confidence.
- Inner strength.
- Stronger Willpower.
- The ability to study and comprehend more quickly.
- Inner happiness.
- More powerful and efficient use of creative visualization.
- -Deeper and more successful meditation.
- And much more…