Swami Kriyananda

The deep power of concentration that comes through daily meditation enables a person to resolve an issue in minutes perhaps, where, otherwise, he might have fretted over it for weeks.

—Swami Kriyananda

Concentration means being able to free your mind from all objects of distraction — including your own thoughts and emotions — and to direct it toward a single object — whether reposing it in a single state of awareness, or directing it toward a single goal.

To many people, such mental control implies effort. And so it does, of course, in a sense. In another sense, however, they are mistaken. For as long as you try to concentrate you will not be able to concentrate really effectively.

Deep concentration is possible only in a state of relaxation. Where tension exists, whether physically or mentally, there is a separate commitment of energy, like the stray strand of thread that refuses to enter the eye of the needle. If, for example, your brow is furrowed in worry, or if your jaw or hands are clenched, these are signs that this much energy, at least, is not being directed toward your true objective.

That is why the best way to develop high-powered concentration is to practice meditation regularly.

Many people mistakenly believe that meditation amounts to a kind of escape from reality — an avoidance of one’s worldly responsibilities. Actually, meditation is easily the most effective way of enabling you not only to face life’s challenges, but to overcome them.

The deep power of concentration that comes through daily meditation enables you to resolve an issue in minutes perhaps, where, otherwise, you might have fretted over it for weeks. Even more important, where your willpower is concerned, the concentration that comes due to regular meditation generates with perfect naturalness the strength of will that is necessary for success in any undertaking.

The physical seat of the willpower is located at the point between the eyebrows. That is why, when a person wills something strongly, he often knits his eyebrows.

In meditation one is taught to concentrate at that point, since this is also the seat of concentration in the body. The more frequently and deeply you focus your mind at that point, the more powerful your will will become.

Another important point in developing concentration, and therefore will power, is inner clarity: crystal clarity of reason and feeling. Meditation is a great aid in the development of such clarity.

Muddy thoughts and feelings produce chaos, both inwardly and outwardly. Inner confusion is the antithesis of concentration. Inner clarity, on the other hand, is almost the definition of concentration.

When your mind is clear, you will naturally address issues one at a time. It is equally true to say that, by limiting yourself to doing or thinking about one thing at a time, you’ll find that your mind, in turn, gradually develops clarity.

Concentration, I said, involves the practice of shutting out of your mind all distracting thoughts and impressions. It isn’t easy not to think about a thing. Try telling yourself, for example, completely to avoid thinking about icebergs.

To develop concentration, then, it is more important to focus positively on one thing at a time than to avoid thinking of other things.

Try to become absorbed in one thought at a time. No one can do many things at once and do them effectively. Leave then, for the moment, every other issue except the one on which you’ve decided to focus your attention. Don’t strain: Be relaxed. Be interested in what you are doing. Become absorbed in it.

Start a New Meditation Practice or Inspire Your Current One

The 10-week Ananda Course in Meditation online course is designed to provide in-depth instruction in scientific meditation techniques that bring more peace, deeper relaxation, and focused concentration to every area of your life, regardless of outer conditions.

These techniques are based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi.

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