Concentration has been used by many successful people to produce ideas, inventions and creative work. It is used in smaller life projects like washing a car, fixing a bulb light or cooking a successful meal. Concentration is the core of success. People who can do any job and succeed without previous experience, have great concentration. But, there’s a much deeper level to concentration. This is the path that the mystics, and philosophers take. It is not concentrating to obtain material object or temporary success, rather it is about timeless knowledge and divine connection. It is mastering the self, which equals mastering the world. This is something that cannot be read or understood but must be experienced every day and carried out with great perseverance and patience. A strong willed person can concentrate better than a weak willed person. It is as simple as that. Will develops concentration and concentration develops will. Observation, contemplation and meditation are all different forms of attention and concentration. This is how you cultivate your mind and learn how to use this precious gift and tune it in to create beauty, harmony and kindness in the world.
Repetition is nothing but a form of concentration. Concentration is consciously-directed-will. The mind is a powerful tool if used in the right way. The mind can perform concentration and manifest the concentrated thoughts. You own a magnificent abstract tool that can create anything you wish. The human race has been given the secret of life creation. Yet the human race also has still not realized this point. Why? Because full conscious and aware beings are powerful and hard to manipulate, therefore, it has been taught that a one human being doesn’t make much of a difference in the wold. And that is absolutely false. As you are a divine being who comes from a divine Source. Every tiny action counts and it can effect the universe life-stream.
When experiencing life, you experience two forms:
1-The General Life.
2- The Silent Life.
The general life is where you experience it with others on the outside. It is what you see, feel, hear and say. The silent life on the other hand, is what you experience inside you. The thoughts, feelings, images and impressions that happen inward. It is the life that no one knows about but you. When you master concentration, these two life’s perspectives merge. And what happens on the inside is reflected on the outside and visa versa. Concentration takes place initially in the silent life.
I will mention one method that must be practiced before taking meditation or contemplation. Otherwise all you feel is boredom and resistance. I highly suggest this method to train your mind. The mind is like a CD player. Its job is only to work, it will play anything that will come across it, any impression, thought, feeling, image etc.. Therefore, try practicing this first so you build a skill of directing, shifting and holding your mind still. I always ask my students to practice this first and the moment they can do it with patience, love and no resistance, a new change of state is felt. Sometimes their whole prospective of life and of themselves change, and they need no further practice and guidance.
The Practice Of Observation
A lot of meditation teachers use the observation practice and mostly with breath. The breath is the simplest form of observation that holds your mind still. If you can’t concentrate and observe your own breath for 10 minutes without drifting to another thought, then you have a concentration problem. You need to practice observation regularly. When practicing observation these main rules apply.
1-Choose one form.
When practicing it’s ideal to choose only one object, thought, person or situation. You can observe anything of your choice. Keep it simple and exclusive to one. I suggest to choose an object first, then a person then a thought. It can be a living form or inanimate object. Choose something you like. Perhaps something you admire. The form you choose is important because it leaves an impression on your soul by the end of the practice. A union takes place between you and this form. Later in the practice, you will be able to observe more than one form.
2- No self consciousness and no labels or judgments.
A very significant point has to be mentioned here. Observing something means forgetting about yourself completely. If you are still conscious of yourself while doing this practice, you should stop and start over. During the practice your mind starts saying: “I’m concentrating on a certain form”. That is you being self conscious. The secret of a successful concentration is self-forgetting. With a lot of practice, you can overcome self-conscious thoughts and become the object, idea or person you are observing. Self consciousness is the only thing that keeps you away from progress. This is a divine secret of life. When forgetting about your self, you no longer have opinions and judgments. You see the form as it is. You see only the truth. No clouds of labels and self painted thoughts.
3- Visualize the form.
After looking carefully with interest at the form, observe each small detail. After that, close your eyes and visualize it. Look at it directly in your mind and observe it. If you can do that with your eyes open, it’s fine but it is recommended to close your eyes and visualize. The form becomes part of your mind as well as your memory. You can observe the form in your mind from different angles ( left, right, top, bottom, corners,inside, outside). You can also move the form in different directions (turn it, rotate it, shake it). Don’t try to change the form or imagine it do something, stay neutral and observe the form as it is.
4- Observe the form.
While eyes are closed, explore this form by first observing how it feels. When merging with the form, you are able to feel how it feels and see how it sees. Second observe this form’s job and purpose in life. Its importance, value and purpose of creation. Most of the time, you will receive deep insight on this form while observing. Even though all is abstract, it is true and authentic. That’s why many people use the practice of observation on their health problems or unsolved difficulties in their lives. You will receive information beyond this world, it comes in form of grace from Source. Because you paused and observed the form and this is an act of appreciation. Showing interest in something or someone is a form of appreciation and as I mentioned earlier, everything matters.