Self-Transformation Series:
Issue No. 10

Concentration and One-Pointedness

Table of Contents

  1. Importance
  2. Concentration in Meditation
  3. One-Pointedness in Daily Life

I. Importance

The capacity to be focused is an important quality for both our inner life and our outer life. Without it, we cannot succeed in meditation or in our outer duties, responsibilities & career. Hence, whether we want to become more spiritual persons or just successful career persons, we need to develop one-pointedness.

II. Concentration in Meditation

Before we can meditate successfully, we must have developed mastery over ourselves. Thoughts must be tools for us to use, not our masters. The average person is often a servant of his previously acquired thought patterns, and hence is led to where thoughts bring him.

Example: A person who is a habitual worrier will find that when he sits down to meditate, his mind automatically goes back to his worry. And that often is the end of his meditation. He is unable to control his mind to make it go where he wants it to go.

Some exercises in concentration and attention.

  1. Close your eyes, and mentally count "1" as you breathe in, and count "2" as you breathe out. Feel relaxed as you do this, and let the pace of breathing slow down naturally. Just focus on the breathing and the counting. If your thoughts stray away, gently return back to your breathing. Watch your attention stray away, and then just patiently lead it back to your breathing. As you do this in a relaxed way, you will notice that there is a gap between your out breath and in breath, where there is no counting and there is no breathing. There is stillness and serenity although you are fully aware and awake. From this you will experience the nature of meditational silence.

  2. This practice must be accompanied with regular readings of spiritual literature that are uplifting. Such reading and reflection will prepare the ground for blossoming of our spirituality as we practice regular meditation.

III. One-Pointedness in Daily Life

The ability to take charge of ourselves and our thoughts is very important in our practical daily affairs. Many of us lack focus in what we do. We do not know our priorities and so allow unimportant tasks to push out important ones. And even when we know that something is important, we are unable to stick to it because of lack of one-pointedness. This makes us become ineffective and worried.

There are some suggestions to become one-pointed: