The Practice of Concentration
Sun rays focused through a lens on a piece of paper can burn the paper. This is because they are concentrated at one point. Similarly, the dissipated waves of the mind need to become one-pointed to obtain concentration of the mind. A concentrated mind paves the way for realization of the self and eternal bliss. Concentration is the ladder to meditation. Therefore, a spiritual aspirant needs to learn to concentrate to progress along the spiritual path.
What is Concentration?
It is focusing the mind on a single thought. The spread-out mind waves have to be focused on a single object. When you concentrate, the senses come to a standstill. In deep concentration, the practitioner loses consciousness of the surroundings, and even his/her body. Every individual has the ability to focus. We concentrate to some extent when we are reading, playing tennis, or doing some work. But, the spiritual aspirant has to develop concentration to a much greater extent.
Difficult for Beginners
A beginner will find concentrating the mind to be a frustrating exercise. But, perseverance is the key to success. Limit your thoughts to a single mantra or object. The mind will wander when you try to concentrate. But, bring back the mind to the mantra or object. Do this exercise daily without fail. After a while, the mind will learn to stick to the point of focus. This is the reward for your diligent practice. You will find unalloyed joy, when this happens.
Benefits of Concentration
A person adept at concentration can accomplish any task with accuracy and efficiency. Thus, concentration is of great help in the material world also. Concentration calms the emotions, and strengthens and clarifies the mind. It develops memory and will power. It also sharpens the intellect and enhances the capacity to work. Concentration bestows patience, spiritual strength, serenity, cheerfulness and fearlessness. It removes agitation and restlessness of mind and helps you on the path to god-realization.