To meditate: Concentrate first!
Updated: May 14
Have you ever wondered how many thoughts you have in a day?
Ok- let's change our approach to this little inquiry. Don’t we always want our thoughts or wishes to come true?
Imagine if all these thoughts, regardless of the nature or intensity of our thinking were to manifest at the instance of the thought- do you think we could physically handle them all?
This is exactly the power of the mind. We are capable of a million thoughts! Limitless! All-you-can-think.
However, it takes the combination of our mind (namely ideas) and our physical efforts to make them into actual reality.
Therefore, thoughts without action are then technically scattering thoughts (no matter how much brainpower you invested in it).
So, another word for all these aimless thoughts is literally distractions.
Being distracted basically means we are unable to concentrate.
Now, many had come to learn meditation as a way to concentrate.
What if I tell you that it is the other way around?
It is in fact the discipline in maintaining concentration that leads you into meditation.
Meditation is not something we do, but rather a situation that arises when we can sustain the concentration of our mind.
Scientifically speaking, meditation is the science of concentration. A clear and systematic way to concentrate our mind.
No matter how it is being repackaged to appeal to the modern human’s lifestyle or intelligence:
the ultimate goal of meditation has never changed- to concentrate the capacity of the mind for a higher realization.
I’ve often heard people said: “Meditation is not for me as I just can’t sit still OR I meditate whenever I feel stressed.” These are both extreme ends of what-is-not-meditation. One is not taking a step at all and the other is taking a leap towards somewhere else.
The misconception on meditation is an obvious hindrance to many. But since you know now (cuz I’ve just told you) concentration will lead to meditation- one never actually needs to work on meditation, but rather the effort to concentrate.
Meditation is the outcome of consistency in concentration.
In a different analogy, you don’t have to worry about the damn cake, but you’ll need the right ingredients to bake a cake.
So, the next time you get on your chair or mat:
don’t do meditation. Concentrate.
Think of it as trying to concentrate your mind onto fewer thoughts. You’ll find yourself closer to meditation than you ever had.
The outcome of sustained concentration is technically meditation.
The goal and benefits of concentration are ultimately beyond meditation. (a story for another day)
So, you were told that meditation boosts concentration but lo and behold, technically, it is actually concentration (Dharana) that culminates to meditation (Dhyana).
If you are in doubt- this entire system is clearly explained in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali and also many ancient scripts that is far older than any mindfulness concept.
Do give it a little dig- cause you and I both have Google.
So, first thing first- concentrate.