To Succeed, You Need Concentration Swami Kriyananda


    On every level of mental activity, concentration is the key to success. The student is taking an exam but is distracted by a popular song running through his head. The businessman trying to write an important contract is worried over an argument he’d had with his wife. The judge is distracted by a teenager appearing before him as he resembles his own son. Lack of concentration means inefficiency. But what is not generally known is that a concentrated mind succeeds not only because it can solve problems with greater dispatch, but also because problems have a way of somehow vanishing before its focussed energies, without even requiring to be solved.
    A concentrated mind often attracts opportunities for success that, to less focussed (and therefore less successful) individuals, appear to come by sheer luck. The one who concentrates receives inspiration and this may often be thought of as a divine favour by others. But such seeming “favours” are due simply to the power of concentration.
    Concentration awakens our powers and channels them, dissolving obstacles in our path, attracting opportunities, insights, and inspirations. In many ways, concentration is the single most important key to success. This is particularly true in yoga practice. The mind, in meditation, must be so perfectly still that not a ripple of thought enters it. God, the Subtlest Reality, cannot be perceived except in utter silence. Much of the teaching of yoga, therefore, centres on techniques designed especially for developing concentration.
    Ask, what is concentration? Concentration implies, first, an ability to release one’s mental and emotional energies from all other interests and involvements and, second, an ability to focus them on a single object or state of awareness.
    Concentration may assume various manifestations, from a dynamic outpouring of energy, to perfectly quiescent perceptions. In its higher stages, concentration becomes so deep that there is no longer any question of its remaining merely a practice: The yogi becomes so completely identified with the object of his concentration that he and it, as well as the act of concentration itself, become one. In this way, he can gain a far deeper understanding of it than would be possible by aloof scientific objectivity alone.
    In concentration on our own higher realities, identification with them becomes lasting. For in this case there is no other, more personal, reality to come back to. We are those realities. We are the infinite light, and love, and joy, and wisdom of God.
The most effective technique of concentration will therefore be one which both interiorises the mind and permits a gradual transition from technical practice to utter stillness. In that state, the senses become automatically stilled, permitting an undisturbed continuation of the concentrated state. Once the mind is so perfectly focussed, its concentrated power may be applied to any object one wishes.
    The techniques of concentration are like finger exercises on the piano, which enable one to play fluently but are no substitute for actual playing. Once your mind has become focussed and quiet, it is time to forego the practice of techniques, and offer your entire awareness calmly up to God. Concentration leads naturally to that state in which the will, no longer busily engaged in outward planning, can be uplifted in a pure act of becoming. Concentration, directed in this way, becomes ecstasy.

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