What is concentration? It is one-pointedness of mind, the ability to hold, to focus one's attention on one point, without wavering. Perfect concentration leads to meditation. In meditational practices, such as trataka, concentration leads to complete mental attention on one object, form or thought to the exclusion of all others. There is no distraction from the environment or other peripheral things.
Why is deep concentration so powerful? This can be best illustrated by comparing the mind of an average person to a light bulb. The rays of light go in all directions; the energy emanating from the centre filament is dissipated, spread in all directions. If you stand five feet away from the bulb you will see the light, but will not feel any direct heat, even though there is intense heat at the centre of the bulb in the filament. In the same way the mind of the average person has vast dormant potential and power at its source, its centre, but this is dissipated in all directions. The mind thinks of a continuous stream of things, one after the other, without dwelling on one subject or aim in any depth. The power is present in each person, but it is not focused and utilized.
In recent years science has produced something that was once the main topic of science fiction novels - the laser. It is an apparatus that lines up all the rays of light from a source so that they are in unison with each other, so that they vibrate together in perfect harmony. The original source of light need not be great, not even as great as the average light bulb filament that we have just mentioned, yet if you stood five feet away from a laser source, the beam would almost instantaneously burn a hole straight through your body. This is the power of concentrated light. Concentrated thought, though unlikely to bore a hole in the body, also has vast power. A concentrated mind acts as an irresistible instrument of action; it leads to efficiency in all one's activities in the outside world; it is a dynamo which generates vitality and enthusiasm in every direction. A concentrated mind also has the ability to be a sensitive receiving instrument; it becomes receptive to higher vibrations, to heightened perception. It becomes a receiver of the influx of higher awareness, bliss and knowledge. All this is normally beyond the range of the average mind for it is too disturbed and distracted by a continual inner chatter of thoughts. Concentration is the key that will unlock the door to higher states of awareness.
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