The wandering mind
Often, when we put our mind on something, we think of something else and this, in turn, reminds us of something else. The mind wanders from one thing to another by associations, until the original thing is forgotten. Do you find this easily happens to you? It makes study nearly impossible and completing a project successfully much more difficult. This course teaches the skills of concentration as a means of educating the will.
The benefits of improved concentration...
- You will be more conscious of the choices being made in life, more self-determined rather than one's life being determined by other forces
- You will be able to determine all aspects and implications of a situation, to resolve problems more easily and create valuable ideas
- You will have the decisiveness and willpower to initiate and then see projects through to a successful conclusion
- You can focus your attention to be able to complete tasks more quickly and effectively, and to do better in studying and exams - and get promotion at work!
- Be well-prepared for further mind development practices such as speed-reading and study, memorization and reasoning skills.
'Concentration' means putting all one's attention on something, and keeping it there for as long as one wishes to. So if you concentrate on a book, you are aware of the book and you are not thinking, looking or listening to anything else. You are aware of the associations, in fact you are more aware, but you are not distracted by them. If you are concentrating you are truly awake and focused.
In much of everyday life, most people are effectively day-dreaming - at worst they are sleep-walking automatons. Their minds flip mechanically from one thing to another, never resting on anything for very long or intentionally. This process may go on for the whole of their lives and they never learn or achieve anything of consequence.
Unless we can wake ourselves up from this mechanicalness and sleep, we cannot begin work on ourselves and we cannot get things done in life. We must learn the mood of concentration - of actually BEING in the Here-and-Now, noticing and observing, and focused on our actions.
You will be more aware, because concentration is the ability to put your awareness on things. This means you are more relaxed - since you are more aware there will be fewer things to startle you. Also, as you can concentrate on things, the subconscious mind will be less able to affect you. Really, only the 'sleeper' is affected by the subconscious mind. When you wake up, you are free of it.
Not just theory!
This course contains many practical exercises that will help you to be able to concentrate very well. This is key to your success in life, since it is the foundation for so many other skills and for the ability to continue and finish properly that which you have begun.
Willpower is the impelling factor, the directive intention, by which we get things done in life. It is the primary expression of our state of being, the source of our initiatives. The quality of the manifestation of our will is determined by our understanding - the 'why?' and the 'how?' - of the world around us.
Our will is manifested through the choices we make. Choice, therefore, is the pivotal factor in a self-controlled destiny. Choice begins from the moment we separate from the consciousness of our parents - choice of what we will do, wear, eat and feel begins from the moment we awaken each day. It is only through choice that we discover what works and what does not, and in this way we learn by experience.
When choice is consciously made, experience becomes self-created. When we live without consciousness, our actions simply reflect our conditioned patterns of thought (habits, fixed ideas and accepted beliefs) or other people's instructions, and we are no longer in charge of our own life experience.
The power of focus
Decisiveness is a great help to practical success as well as to strength and clarity of mind. For example, a distinguished man was asked to what he attributed his phenomenal success in life. His top recommendation was to make a list early each morning of the things which he wanted to do during the day. He said that with the aid of this practice he was able to do much more; not because he worked harder but because he had ceased to waste time in idle speculation as to what he should do next, and whether he should do it now or leave it to later or the next day. He discovered that these troublesome questions had the power to sap his strength and resolution, such that he got much less done before.
Wishing and willing are quite different things. Suppose I consider whether I will or will not pick up my pen. I cannot wish in this matter - I must decide either to pick it up or leave it where it is. Wishing is an acknowledgement of inability, a dependence upon external events. Willing is the use of your own power. The person who has educated his will does not grumble about the things fortune brings to him through no apparent action of his own, but is content to make the fullest possible use of the opportunities that do prevail. He or she does not dwell again and again on the same thought or argument. If something does require to be thought over, it is brought forward and all the facts bearing upon it are considered, so that a clear conclusion is derived; and then the matter is dismissed from the mind.
The great Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi stated: "An average man's mind is filled with countless thoughts, and therefore each individual one is extremely weak. When, instead of these many useless thoughts, there appears only one, it is a power in itself and has a wide influence."
We know that many great scientists and inventors ascribed their unique discoveries to their ability for strong, focused, thinking. This was the case with Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur and many others, who were conscious of and able to apply their extraordinary powers of concentration to exclude all else but the object of their investigations.
Develop the will
The idea of sharpening or concentrating our minds has definite aims and means, which have been thoroughly investigated. The fruits of this research are presented here, in the Mind Development course called 'Concentration: Developing Willpower.'
"Unless we notice, we cannot be in a position to choose, or act, for ourselves.
It is a transition from one state of existence to another. The significance of this
is largely neglected, because we fail to understand its relevance to freedom.
Noticing, is the opening of the door to possibilities. How can we train
ourselves to grasp this kind of opportunity?" --J. G. Bennett
Concentration is a means to develop the will, so that life may be lived purposely and creatively, rather than as a reaction to the flow of sensations. Because you will not flit from one thing to another, like a butterfly, you will be able to choose to focus your mind - for example on study or work projects - and will increase your skills and knowledge in these areas. Most importantly, you will be able to focus more clearly on your vision of what you want to achieve.
In short, your mental life is both intensified and broadened. The ability to concentrate is, therefore, a valuable skill which will enhance all other skills. Almost all the drills and exercises of Mind Development help develop your ability to concentrate. But are there ways to improve your concentration directly? Yes, and this course teaches the best of them.
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