Concentration is central to the practice of meditation and it’s not easy.
For most of us it can be a struggle although it’s a battle worth fighting as the rewards are immense. Without concentration, that one-pointed focus of attention it’s not possible to rein in that ‘monkey-mind’ and allow tranquillity to take its place.
Without examining the multitude of thoughts that swirl around in our mind it is possible in the ‘nothingness’ of our concentration, whether we concentrate on our breath, a mantra or a mandala to gain insights that take us into our inner world where we abandon the intellect.
The language of the inner world according to Psychologist, Author and Meditator, Dr. David Fontana is intuitive and paradoxical, and a place where we must suspend logical questions and accept what occurs there ‘as if’ it is real. (The Meditator’s Handbook, David Fontana, Penguin Aust. 1998.)
Theresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena and Joan of Arc are examples from history that attest to this phenomenon. I’m still struggling to reach this level or any level of mysticism but it’s in the struggle that I gain strength to continue.
For meditation to be effective it must become part of our lives, not only in terms of regularity of formal practice but in terms of the way we live our lives, mindfully.
For me the ‘self’, the ego, the small informed person I think I am, can be an impediment to my progress. Fortunately in meditation, this small self is discarded as the mind centres upon meditative awareness.
And now let’s meditate in the fashion that you are accustomed. You might like to dedicate this meditation practice to those affected by the pandemic or you might have some other worthy intention.
(Meditate for up to 20 minutes.)
As we go about our daily activities I hope that by our attention, our awareness in the present, we will find joy in the midst of the losses brought about during this pandemic.