By stephan trefzer, Jun 23 2012 02:38PM
What is the process of concentration, and how can we become aware of it more fully?
How to go about it? Let us get some direct experience. Firstly choose something to concentrate on. This can be the breath, a picture or anything else, then try to focus on it now.... How long before you were distracted? A few seconds? ...maybe, if we were lucky. Now, do it again for 30 seconds and in that time try to become aware of how many times you have been distracted and how many times you had to start again? ....quite a few times right? That is the actual process. You focus on something, then you loose the focus, you have to re-focus, start again or bring back your focus - however you want to phrase it. This process is called concentrating or concentration.
This is one of so many reasons why I love Hatha Yoga so much. Because during this practice we can study the process, and the more we practice the more this process will be strengthened.
In my experience, this is the perfect ‘training ground’ to do it in because there is so much going on and you can choose many things to focus on. In addition, as we begin to explore our boundaries, the breath begins to intensify. The moment that happens you have two choices; either you ‘drop away’ and stop or back off, or you choose to continue. If you continue you will suddenly experience an increase of mental activity because the mind is not happy with the intensity, and then at that point you need to increase your effort of concentration - it goes hand in hand with the breath. What happens is that as the physical challenge increases so does the breath. With the increased mental activity you have to ‘attach’ your concentration to the breath and then you can see how concentration improves. The repeated effort over time will strengthen the process of concentration. It will also increase your discipline because you have learnt not to back off so easily. You will have ‘seen’ that if you persevere, intensity will decrease and you will then also see the ‘golden middle path’ of non-effort in effort, and an easefulness will then come into your practice because you also have to ‘let go’ on another level.