Meditation for Thursday 4th May 2023
Concentration is the key to meditation and is also the most difficult for nearly everyone especially those new to meditation. It is after all a discipline; sustained attention, an attention which involves narrowing down so that other stimuli which normally distract us are prevented from intruding. It allows us to be in the present moment. Our concentration becomes ‘one-pointed’, perhaps towards our breath, a mantra or a mandala.
Early in my life I was taught a form of ‘contemplative’ prayer that assisted me to concentrate on a visual aid, if you like a mandala. It has held me in good stead although today I concentrate on the breath which from my experience and reading seems to be the most universal form.
Through concentration we train the mind to be much clearer and sharper. It is the essential first step for novice meditators.
Some say listening to music or watching the movement of leaves blowing on a tree in the wind is helpful to concentration. Whilst these are useful mindfulness practices they are ever-changing stimulus unlike the breath, a geometrical shape (mandala) or a rhythmical chant (mantra).
Each time we begin to meditate our intention is to concentrate however it’s important that we drop any pre-determined goal and just concentrate using whatever method works best for us.
Now let’s concentrate in order to bring ourselves into the present moment.
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