Saturday, January 16, 2010

Concentration is Key

"Alabdha Bhumikatva: As a mountain climber fails to reach the summit for lack of stamina, so also a person who cannot overcome the inability to concentrate is unable to seek reality. He might have had glimpses of reality but he cannot see clearly. He is like a musician who has heard divine music in a dream, but who is unable to recall it in his waking moments and cannot repeat the dream.
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, 41st paragraph of the Introduction.

ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder seems to be one of the mental diseases of our time along with Depression which yields its own fogginess and inability to concentrate. Being able to Concentrate is important for the Path of Yoga. And the challenges of our time can make this difficult. There are always so many choices everywhere someone looks these days. And I think that behind our decisions of what to do or look at next is a real desire to do something worthwhile with our time. This might lead to many changing choices as we continue to seek satisfaction. It's hard to concentrate on one thing when something better might follow the next choice. And depression can also get in the way of concentrating. If someone thinks that nothing good is going to come out of the experience anyway, no matter what then why bother? In depression it's impossible to get up the energy to concentrate, because there is no point to it. A depression might bring thoughts about all choices being hopeless. There's no light at the end of the tunnel, here. And with an ADD mindstate there just might be too many lights behind all the unexplored possibilities.

Believe and Choose Something

To find a way through the mental muck and disorganization I think that a person would do best to Believe and Choose Something. Not that we want to be one-dimentional, but there is wisdom in Choosing Something and Sticking to It. And to have the fuel necessary to stay with something--whether it is a relationship, career or other pursuit--through life changes we have to Believe. We have to believe that it will yield something good even if we can't see the exact result that our effort will make. Trusting in the process of life and death is necessary to become whole.

When I am fearing death and therefore fearing life, it is difficult to concentrate. Only when I am peaceful and accepting of my life situation can I find a moment of concentration. Even though I will die one day, I'd like to be as focused and bright as I can be for as long as I can be.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Lisa said...

This is a really beautiful meditation... and one I need to hear. Thank you.

Sarah said...

True words....

Thank you!


Bob Weisenberg said...

Good words, Brooks.

Concentration is 90% of the message of the Yoga Sutra. When I recently tried to show that all of Yoga philosophy could be expressed in just three phrases, that was one of them:




Thanks for this ongoing series. (I'm now reading "Light on Yoga" because of this blog.)

Bob Weisenberg

Cris boastyle said...

I agree : concentration is a core practice in yoga, but concentration without effort or struggle. When I'm just on the present moment (not very often) the mind is still and I'm concentrate and very performant in what Im doing. From my experience, the key is just BE PRESENT.
Thanks for always raise great topics.

YogaforCynics said...

Concentration has always been particularly difficult for me. If I were in grade school now, I'm sure I'd be diagnosed with ADD and given lots of drugs for it--then, I think that's mostly because public schools are set up only for certain kinds of minds. Not that I don't have trouble concentrating now--but I suspect that has more to do with the deep sense of hopelessness that comes from depression. On the other hand, I've spent an unusual amount of time alone with my thoughts in my life and have explored my mind quite a bit, including looking deeply into where that sense of hopelessness comes from, long before getting seriously into any serious kind of meditative practice, so there's somewhat of a balance there...

And now, of course, I'm thinking with my fingers on the keyboard...