Learn the Power of Concentration
Want to learn to make any task easier?
Then learn to concentrate. The reason why a person gets bored, is because they are not putting enough concentration into the task that they are doing at the moment.
The ability to concentrate is sort of like the ability to put blinders on yourself, so that you are focused only on the thing that is directly in front of you. Distractions then become as they say, “ out of sight and out of mind”.
When we engage in any particular task, our boredom and lack of skill is usually a result of not committing 100 % of ourselves to the thing that we are doing. If you need to write a paper for school for example, the reason that you get so bored and uptight and the reason that you tend to do such a bad job, is that your mind wonders all over the place. Your mind is spread out in a wide arc, thinking a little about the paper that you have to write but also about the weather, what’s on tv, what you could be eating, etc., etc.
The power of focus allows you to be where you are, doing what you are doing. What it really is; is the power to take your attention which is usually spread out over a large mental area and focus it like a laser beam on one thing. Concentration therefore is the ability to control the focus of your attention.
Developing the power of concentration is very much like working out. In many ways it is like exercising your muscles. You need to take a small bit of time out of your day, and engage in exercise that will allow you to focus and train your attention. And ANYONE can benefit from this kind of exercise.
You might think that because you are a laborer for example, you might not need to work on your concentration. Certainly you imagine an accountant or someone like that who needs to focus on a mental task, would benefit, but not you. Well that is not correct thinking; even physical tasks require great concentration. If you work in a dangerous area then you will need to focus on what you are doing or you might end up losing some fingers or toes. Concentration and focus give you more energy, elevate your output and give you peace of mind. There is nothing more soothing than to focus on a manual task so intently that you block out everything else in your life. Work then becomes a type of mental freedom and a source of inner peace.
In order to begin to develop your concentration, I am going to give you this time tested exercise. It would be ideal that you thought of it as a type of physical exercise, so that you devote 15 minutes to half an hour to it, every second day. As you get better you might want to devote more time to this exercise because as you shall see, if you try it, it will bring a great sense of inner peace and inner strength.
I want you to take a small sheet of white paper; anything from 4X5 to 8X10 will do, and make a small black dot on it. The dot’s ideal size would be about ¼ of an inch or half a centimeter in diameter. The size of the dot or the color of the paper are not critical. Just make sure that it’s a black dot on white paper.
Now find the most comfortable, and quiet place in your house. Take some tape and stick the dot to a wall. Sit in front of the dot that you have created. You can either sit on a chair or sit on a comfy pillow or sit cross legged. Sit however you are most comfortable and make sure that the dot is in front of you. You don’t want to strain your vision by having to look up at the dot. The best place to position your dot is slightly below eye level.
When you are very comfortable with the dot’s position in front of you and how you are sitting, I want you to start staring at the dot. I want you to start looking at the dot and only the dot so that you become completely focused on it to the exclusion of everything else. Your vision might start to get blurry so keep blinking and make yourself blink a few times in a row if you need to.
Stare at the dot in front of you. Forget about who you are, where you are, how you are sitting and anything else that does not matter or pertain to you staring at the dot. Focus only on the dot. If any thoughts arise, which will surely be the case, then stop that thought in mid stride and continue to think only about staring at the dot.
You will catch yourself over and over again thinking about the past or the future or any old daydream that happens to occur. Suddenly you will wake up as if from a dream and realize that you are supposed to be staring at the dot. When this happens, cut that invading thought as soon as possible and begin to once again concentrate on thinking only about staring at the dot.
Try to always keep a good posture so that you do not injure your back, especially if you are sitting cross legged on the floor. But aside from a straight back, forget about your physical comfort or discomfort as much as possible.
The task is to make the dot and the act of staring at the dot, the entire focus of your life. Continue to do this for fifteen minutes.
As you first begin with this exercise, you will find that there is a million and one distractions and it will probably be very hard to endure the fifteen minutes of intense focus. But don’t worry; this will change with practice until you get to the point where you will wonder where the time has gone.
When fifteen minutes becomes pretty doable, extend the time of your focus meditation to thirty minutes. Do not get upset with yourself for having all those rampant thoughts, impulses and feelings. Just remember to end these thoughts as soon as you realize that you are dreaming, and redouble your efforts to concentrate on the dot. The mere act of doing this exercise will allow you to develop a great deal of focus and discipline.
Do this three times a week for a month and see for yourself the difference in all aspects of your life. That is my challenge to you; try this exercise for a month and let me know how it has affected your psyche and your everyday life.