Words by Dandapani
When I was growing up as a child, I was teased very often for being so distracted. Had I not been born a few decades ago, I probably would have been given one of those colorful acronyms like ADHD, branded and probably drugged for not being able to concentrate.
Children don’t need to be drugged, they just need to be taught how to concentrate. And then they need to practice it just like anything else. To become a good tennis player, to become a good dancer, practice, practice, practice.
So how do we become good at concentrating? We start by understanding the mind. All of us have a mind, it’s the most powerful tool in the world, built the smartphone, it’s put machines that drive itself on Mars. Yet there’s no manual for the mind. Yet you buy a point-and-shoot camera it comes with a hundred page manual. Yet we have the most complex tool in the world, our mind, and there’s no manual.
Once you know how the mind works, you can control it. And once you can control it, you can focus it.
There are two things that you need to understand. One is, there’s awareness and one is the mind.
Imagine awareness is a glowing ball of light, like an orb that can float around. Now imagine your mind as a vast space with many different sections within it. One area of the mind is anger, jealousy, food, sex, happiness, joy, science, art. And this glowing ball of light called awareness can travel within the mind and it can go to any area of the mind it wants to go to. And when it goes to a particular area of the mind it lights up that area. When it lights up that area of the mind you become conscious of it. So to give you an example, your friend invites you to go see a movie so you go to the theater, you sit down, the lights all on, you’re chatting with your friends, the lights dim, the movie starts.
If it’s a really great director, producer he or she can take your awareness to any area of the mind they want you to go to. They can take you to a sad area of mind, to happy area of the mind, the movie can get really exciting, thrilling, suspenseful, scary. And it’s 90 minutes later and you turn to your friend and you go like that was an amazing movie. But you paid to allow that director to take your awareness to different areas of the mind. And this happens on a daily basis.
Each day we allow someone or something throughout the day to take awareness from one area of the mind to another. When we allow a person or something to do that we’re being distracted. The art of concentration is the art of keeping awareness that ball of light on one thing for an extended period of time. Every time the ball of light drifts away, we bring it back. It drifts away again, we bring it back.
You are not the mind. When people say my mind wanders all the time, technically that’s a false statement. What wanders is your awareness. The awareness is moving within your mind.
When you’re able to concentrate you’re able to focus all your energy into a single given point. Life is a manifestation of where your energy is flowing. And if you can’t concentrate your energy, the things that you want to manifest in your life becomes very very challenging. So learn to concentrate by doing one thing at a time. Bring this practice into everything that you do throughout the day. Make it a part of your life.
Be unwavering in your focus. Proceed with confidence because life is meant to be lived joyously and then all begins by learning how to concentrate and staying focused.