How To Concentrate?
Most of us are told to concentrate and stop being distracted. We have repeated the same to our children. Why can't we concentrate? This is because we have never been taught how to do it. Never have we practiced this. "Practice makes a man perfect." Take the example of good sports person, singer, dancer etc. They put in hours after hour to perfect them. If we practice something bad, we become very good at that also.Eg. we are so good at getting distracted.
We all say that modern-day gadgets are very distracting. I will say not really.
Technology in itself is not bad until you become a slave to it. If we look at every notification/bip coming to our mobile, we cannot concentrate on what we are doing.
HOW DOES THE MIND WORK?
For this, we need to understand two things.
1. The glowing ball of light that we call awareness.
2. The mind with various compartments – happy, sad, jealousy, excitement etc.
The ball of light moves from one area of mind to another. Concentrate on keeping the ball of awareness in one place for long.
Exercise – Sit straight, switch off mobile. Nothing in your hand. Take a deep breath.
Become aware of the room, the chair you are sitting, the sound of AC/fan, any noise around.
Now think of a recent picture/film that you have seen. The plot, characters, dress the main characters were wearing, romance, jealousy, fight.
Remember a recent vacation that you had been – Scene, food, weather. Adventure, wellness, what happened there.
Next think of a recent wedding you attended – food, dress, alcohol, what happened there?
Go by yourself or with your family? Remember what the bride was wearing?
Come back to the room in which you are sitting – chair, voice, people around you. Slowly open your eyes. 2 things have been proved.There is a clear separation between awareness and mind.
You can take the awareness from one area to another. You allowed me to control your mind. I took you from one compartment to another.This happens all day long. We allow people and events to take awareness from one area to another. Therefore we become distracted. Concentration is nothing but keeping our awareness in one place for long. Bring this practice to everyday life. Look at opportunities every day. E.g. If you are talking to your spouse, give her or him your undivided attention. Do the same with your child. Parents complain how can I teach my child to concentrate? You learn to concentrate first? If you can’t concentrate how can your child do?If you concentrate, you bring energy to one point. Life is a manifestation where your energy flows. Keep it focused bring it back to one point. Be unwavering in your focus.
Exercise to improve concentration in work. Things required – A stopwatch and a pencil and paper. Take a deep breath. Look at this image and close your eyes. Your task is to keep this single image in your mind without changing its color, shape or blurring it. If you feel that the image has blurred then stop the stopwatch, see how much time you could concentrate without faltering and start again. Practice this for a month and you will realize that your concentration in any work has improved.
The mind is often a helpless victim of various types of turbulence like anger, grief, sensuality, revenge, and remorse and these feelings are prone to harm one's own self as well as others. The practice of meditation frees the mind from purposeless wanderings and channelizes its energy in a focused way. With meditation, one learns the art of single point concentration which elevates the level of efficiency in any assignment.
Importance Of Breath
Breath is very important for meditation as it is connected to both mind and body. If we are anxious, frightened or upset, our breath tends to be shallow, irregular and quick. But if we are relaxed, settled or calm, our breath tends to be more slow, deep and regular.
Focussing the mind on the continuous rhythm of inhalation and exhalation provides a natural object of meditation. As you focus your awareness on your breath, your mind becomes absorbed in the rhythm of inhalation and exhalation. As a result, your breathing becomes slower and deeper and the mind becomes more tranquil and aware.
Find a quiet, private spot for meditation.
Ideally, your meditation should be in a space free of distracting noises or other people. Many people find that morning meditation helps them start their day. Others prefer to meditate at the end of the day.
Two of the most common meditative positions are sitting cross-legged or lying on our backs on the floor. If your body is not active and you don't normally sit cross-legged, you may find it very uncomfortable just to sit cross-legged for a few minutes on the floor. Your meditation should not be a physical torture session, so if you find discomfort in this position, don't sweat it! Simply use the next body posture.
Sitting on a thin blanket, carpet, or any other soft support (but not too soft!) will help keep the points of your body touching the ground comfortably.
While sitting cross-legged, gently pull the top of your head upwards to bring length into your spine. This will also help you support the natural posture/curvature of your spine. You do not need to hold this movement throughout your meditation because you will not be able to relax if you are actively using your muscles. This movement should be used to help find a spine supporting position. Your shoulders should be pulled back and down with your heart shining forwards. Again not holding, just using these general alignment tips to help find a comfortable seated position.
The second posture that might be better for your unique body is simply lying face up on the ground (also called savasana). Again, lying on a thin blanket, carpet, or any other soft support (but not too soft!) will help keep the points of your body touching the ground comfortably. Your legs can be spaced at about hip-width distance apart or even a bit wider with your feet comfortably facing upwards or hanging outwards to the sides. Your arms can be slightly spread with your palms facing upwards.
The choice is yours, simply find a position you can stay in comfortably for 5-15 minutes (or however long you wish to meditate). Comfort is important because movement will distract your focus from your practice. While you are meditating, try your best to remain completely still (aside from your breathing).
Once you are settled, close your eyes and allow yourself to relax, thank your own self for taking the time out of the day to practice self - care through meditation. Give yourself permission to forget about everything else for the duration of your meditation practice, these precious moments are yours to enjoy completely.
Begin to take slow and deep inhalations through your nose followed by exhalations through the nose. The breath should start and end at the bottom of your belly. The belly should be moving inwards and outward. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. With each inhalation and exhalation, simply focus your mind on the action of breathing. Focus on the sensation of air coming in your nose, filling your lungs, and as you exhale the sensations you feel as your lungs naturally complete a breath cycle.
As you begin your meditation your may consciously help your lungs get into this deep, rhythmic and diaphragmatic breathing. But as you continue your practice, simply having your focus on your breath should help to sustain this style of breathing, you do want to consciously exert your control over your lungs throughout the entire practice. You are here to focus and observe. To relax and enjoy.
As you focus on your breath, you may have all kinds of thoughts pop into your mind and distract your focus from your breath. This is completely normal! Let the thoughts come, don't try to stop them because it's impossible. Simply let them come and pass by. Avoid bringing your attention and focus on the thoughts and following them down their storylines. When you catch your focus coming off the breath and onto the thoughts, gently bring your focus back to the breath and let the thoughts float away.
The Effects Of Meditation - What Can You Expect To Happen From Meditating
During your meditation, your mind and body may become calm, or they may not. What is certain that if you frequently meditate, relaxation will eventually come. It is common to experience some relaxation during meditation and directly afterward. But! These feelings can be yours all the time. Continued practice will help bring these lovely benefits into every moment of your life.
Longer and more frequent meditations can help to accelerate the journey of strengthening your focus, within reason. Like most things, a natural balance between the rest of your life and meditation will likely result in the most vibrant growth for you.
Do practice and let me know what benefit you actually get.