Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How to stabilize your concentration?

If you’ve ever tried to quiet your mind by preventing it from thinking, you know how hopeless that can be. But the more you invest your mental energy in a single focus during meditation, the more one-pointed your mind becomes, and the more the distractions recede to the background. Eventually, you can develop the ability to stabilize your concentration on a single focus for minutes at a time, gently returning when your mind wanders off. With increased one-pointedness comes an experience of inner harmony and stillness, as the sediment in the turbulent lake of your mind gradually settles, leaving the water clean and clear. This experience is generally accompanied by feelings of calm and relaxation — and occasionally by other pleasurable feelings like love, joy, happiness, and bliss (which incidentally originate at the bottom of the lake, in pure being).

At deeper levels of concentration, you may experience total absorption in the object — a state known as samadhi. When this power of focused concentration is directed like a laser beam to everyday activities, you can enter what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls flow — a state of supreme enjoyment in which time stops, self-consciousness drops away, and you become one with the activity itself.

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