What is Concentration?

What is Concentration?

In meditation terms, concentration is associate degree action of mind applied to associate degree object.

But those area unit simply words. Here could be a specific exercise to demonstrate, in real time, what concentration “is”, therefore you’ll see it directly for yourself (and always remember it).

Actually try this exercise, now.

Take the index finger of your dominant hand. Press it gently against a tough surface reminiscent of a wall or table. you must be able to see the flesh underneath the nailmodification color as blood is pushed into it.
Now, do identical issue, except use [*fr1] the ability, therefore you’re still pushing the finger into the surface, however it now not changes color.
Now, do identical issue at tenth part power once more. So, this can be currently at simply 5 % of the initial force you used. Keep applying this little, insignificant force to your finger.

At this level, the finger won’t move in the slightest degree. However, the action of mind upon the finger can continue. you may continue the action of mind by willing the finger to push into the table – however at a force incapable of really moving it. this can be concentration.

“Mental thought” to “physical action” could be a spectrum. Thoughts cross some extent on the spectrum and become physical actions. most of the people sometimes leap from thought to physical action in a very binary step. However, because the exercise just showed, you’ll after all approach the purpose wherever a concept becomes a physical action, associate degreed keep simply to a lower place it – making a seamless action of mind that is “sub-threshold” for making an actual physical action. you’llstill produce this action of mind for long periods. this can be concentration.

This action of mind can still cause nerves to fireplace within the finger, despite its not moving. These nerve impulses are often perceived as a tingling sensation within thechest and neck wherever the nerves supply the finger be a part of into the spine. By continued this action of mind whereas turning into responsive to the tingling, the tingling will unfold on the spine and become heat and enjoyable. In fact, playing this mental action of applying stripped-down force to the finger is capable of manufacturing jhana. (This is after all one amongst the ways that within which mudras work.)

To create a jhana, you’d merely have to be compelled to still perform the mental action of applying stripped-down force to the finger till that became your dominant thought and you were able to continue doing it for extended and longer uninterrupted stretches of your time (e.g. five seconds thinking solely concerning the finger, that is longer than it sounds once it involves pure concentration practice). we would decision this part “initial access concentration”.

While doing this, over time, the nice and cozy tingles would unfold and build up and become noticeable as their own object. This “pleasure object” would then be a part ofwith the first object (the finger) and that we would currently have a scenario wherever concentrating on the finger additionally created pleasant heat tingles in a very single unified method. we would decision this “high access concentration” or “late-stage access concentration”. At now, you currently should merely still rely on the finger whereas belongings the nice and cozy tingles build till they reach a threshold, at that purpose they “flare” and become a jhana (usually with light-weight erupting within thevisual field).

This is pretty special considering you’re simply pushing your finger into a table. (I am additionally not suggesting this can be “easy”, however it’s yet easy.) By reallyattempting this, you would possibly notice that concentration is each fragile and paper-thin. it’s fragile as a result of different thoughts can plan to steal your attention removed from your finger. it’s paper-thin as a result of it takes a great deal of mental effort to “move the finger while not moving the finger”. very little} little purpose on the spectrum between thought and physical action is paper-thin. however staying on it purpose is concentration.

Eventually, you’d additionally hopefully notice that concentration itself, once applied over time, becomes stable and arranged. It becomes one thing sort of a steady “stream” of attention. Once you’re about to now, you have got created some serious progress in cultivating concentration.

Now, you’d truly raise however pressing a finger into a table is that the same “action” as swing awareness on the sensations of breath at the nose. to affix the 2, think aboutit like this. you have got a tower, the piece of animal tissue within the finish of the nose that separates the 2 nostrils. Can you, right now, push that tower forward (so that your face moves forward, with the tower “leading” it)? currently be intimate at [*fr1] power. currently one tenth of that power. At now, your mind is pushing forward on your tower, however no physical movement is happening. At now you’ll say you’re “resting attention on the tip of your nose”, rather like the Buddhists demand! currently, continue doing this whereas belongings yourself breathe. you may notice that this can be after all identical action as “resting awareness on the sensations of breath at the columella”. Your mind is currently in those nerves within the finish of your nose, right wherever they have to be for breath jhana. Continue this mental action for the maximum amount time as you’ll permit yourself and you have got a significant probability of accomplishing breath jhana.

So, that’s concentration. it’s a mental action upon associate degree object, below the brink of making a physical action. Concentration alone causes jhana. what’sfascinating but is that your selection of object “flavours” the jhana considerably. So, a breath jhana contains a terribly completely different flavour to a finger jhana (which is completed properly via mudras), or a kasina jhana, or a metta jhana, despite all of those being born from concentration. the most reason, I believe, is that every one of those have completely different points of specialize in the body. Breath jhana is completed at the nose, mudras at the hands, kasinas tend to be sensory receptor, and metta is at the guts. A mental action is applied at these points inflicting completely different nerves in those vicinities to activate, since attention tends to “bleed” into nearnerves.

For example, after you rest attention on the tip of the nose, the tingles within the nerves within the nose seem to “bleed” into the vagus nerve and muscular structurenerves (which be a part of into the neural structure “behind” the nose), giving strange and tremendous body effects. I actually have been implicating the vagus nerve nerves in breath jhana for a few time currently, for the subsequent reason: The vagus nerve nerves innervate the ears, heart, lungs and systema alimentarium. severally, this accounts for the subsequent jhana effects: ringing within the ears (the “jhana sound”); heat in chest and lowered heart rate; feedback circuit with the lungs (meaning respiratory “creates” the jhana aboard concentration); cool bodily walking on air. Breath jhana tends to be sedating and happy thanks to this action on the vagus nervenerves.

Resting attention on the sensory receptor but – that is wherever kasina afterimages tend to be placed, though third-eye gazing could be a meditation in itself – seems to activate the ductless gland and optic nerves. Concentration here are “flavoured” with visuals and have a surreal quality. gesture concentration on the opposite hand tends to “bleed” up the spine making associate degree elated, energized state. It thus tends to be related to kriya yoga/ energy work.

So, we have a tendency to currently have a operating model of what concentration “is” and the way applying it at {different|totally completely different|completely different} points creates different altered states. Pushing a finger into a table isn’t a perfect set-up for meditation therefore, if you would like to continue with this sort of “finger concentration”, i’d instead suggest you sit properly and adopt dhyana gesture, and develop concentration on the 2 thumbs gently touching one another. The principle is that the same like the table: bit the thumbs along with a force below the brink of making a physical action. you’ll additionally rely on the 2 thumbs merely “resting” on one another, which can have identical result. another is gyan mudra: on every hand, push the tip of the index finger into the thumb as gently as you’ll. stick with that mental action, and this can be concentration. Concentrate for long enough, and an agreeable altered state can arise. it’s no additional difficult than that.