Concentration Meditation - Discover the Art & Science of Sharpening Your Concentration and How to Easily Transform Your Life!
What is concentration meditation? It is the direction of one's attention towards a single object without being distracted for a sustained period of time.
There are many types of concentrative meditation techniques. We can focus our attention and awareness on --
-- Sensory inputs or sensory awareness
-- Bodily movements
-- Thoughts Here we discuss meditation techniques based on visual concentration upon physical objects.
Benefits of Concentration Meditation
a) It develops the ability of focusing our attention on the task at hand. This helps in studying, memorization, sports, etc.
b) We gain a deeper insight into the reality of things. We perceive greater details into the nature of objects, rather than just looking superficially at things. This helps us to learn more about whatever task we undertake and remembering more about it.
c) We gain deeper insights into our psychological processes such as boredom, emotions, restlessness, thoughts, etc. By being more aware of the positive and negative mental states, we can gain better control of our mental states and can gain freedom from bad habits and negative conditionings.
The Technique of Concentration Meditation
1) Choosing an object for meditation.
The first step is to choose an object for concentrative meditation. You can choose any type of visible objects such as a candle flame, a mountain, a gemstone, the moon, any body part (such as the hand or palm) or anything else.
In the early stages of concentration meditation, it is helpful to choose objects which have the following criteria --
-- objects that are visually interesting and appealing to us.
-- objects that do not provoke an emotional response. An emotional response would become a distraction in the concentration practice. It would take us away from the impersonal and steady flow of awareness.
For example, if we use our friend's photograph for concentration meditation, it might trigger emotional responses - whether they are positive or negative is immaterial.
2) Preparation of the object.
-- The object must be placed at a distance where it's easy to observe its details without straining our eyes.
-- Its height should be set at a point which makes it easy to look straight into it.
3) Comfortable sitting posture.
We breathe freely and sit in a comfortable posture that is relaxed but erect.
4) We notice and observe the details of the object.
As much as possible, we refrain from using words and labels in our mind to interpret the objects.
For example, if gazing at a flower is our concentration meditation practice, then --
-- We can anchor our gaze at a single spot on the flower or we can let our eyes wonder across through the various parts of the flower (its petals, its stem, its leaves and the center).
-- We observe the shadings and the colors, their blending into one another and the subtle differences between the lit and the shaded areas.
-- We observe the shape and texture (surrounded areas, edges, smooth areas, rough areas, etc.)
5) Enjoying the meditation.
Concentration is much easier while we are enjoying the observation of the object of attention. For example, it is easier to get attuned while we are listening to our favorite music, favorite game, etc.
Similarly, concentration becomes easy when we allow our eyes --
-- to be in a relaxed position. We should monitor the strain and tension occurring in our eyelids.
-- to "savor" the object. The natural tendency of the eyes is to gradually explore, and delve into the object -- playfully, slowly, sensually, and lovingly.
6) Passive management of thoughts.
We passively manage the distracting thoughts that arise. Whenever our attention wanders off from the object that we're concentrating upon, we bring back our awareness towards the object -- without bringing a sense of disappointment, anger or frustration.
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