Hinduism

Mindfulness and Concentration

Meditation teachers commonly recommend two types of meditation. These are:

Mindfulness or Concentration

Mindfulness

In this type, one does not focus on a single object. The practitioner dispassionately observes the mind with its whole gamut of passing sensations, emotions, thoughts and images. The disadvantage is if you practice only mindfulness, the mind would stay only on the surface level. Your attention would peter out at the mind level itself. Thus, you would not be able to experience deeper meditation levels.

Concentration

In this type, one concentrates on just a single object which could be a visualized image, chakra center, mantra or just the breath. If your practice only concentration, the mind would not be trained to dispassionately witness passing images, emotions, sensations and thoughts. Your attention may become oblivious to these experiences.

Many meditation students are confused about which is the best method. They end up practicing only mindfulness or concentration.

Mindfulness and Concentration

Both meditation types are compatible in yoga meditation. They are not dissimilar. In fact, both mindfulness and concentration should be utilized to move inward into deeper consciousness. As one goes deeper into meditation, one will find that both these types of meditation are essential.

Both mindfulness and concentration need to be practised. Mindfulness can help you experience impressions, and learn the skill of dispassionate witnessing. Concentration can help you transcend the mind field, beyond which there is silence and stillness. Thus, both types are essential to experience absolute consciousness.

Practise Both Mindfulness and Concentration

While meditating, emphasize on mindfulness for some time and then move on to concentration. Both can work together. Explore the mind in a focused manner. Practise concentration to weaken particular thought patterns. This can increase your non-attachment and dispassion. Concentration can help you transcend the layers such as breath, body and sense. Use both mindfulness and concentration to explore each layer and move deeper.

Three Meditation Skills

Read on to learn three important skills that can help you practice both mindfulness and concentration:

Focus:

Train your mind to pay attention to a single object and attain one-pointedness. This would be difficult at first, but with practice you would be able to ignore mental impressions and external stimuli.

Expansion:

Complete your ability to focus by expanding your mind and observe your thoughts with dispassion.

Non-Attachment:

With constant practice, you will reach a stage where you are unaffected and remain uninvolved with mental impressions and   thoughts. This key ingredient of non-attachment must be combined with focus and expansion to reap the rich benefits of meditation.

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