The Art of Concentration. Enthusiasm and Willingness to do are the keys to Success.
So where are we going to get this energy from to allow us to concentrate with real conviction, deeply and consistently? While you have a busy mind that’s opposed to abiding, you have to really learn to apply yourself, this applying is the application of your mind necessary to get really concentrated. You have to keep putting the effort forward until you don’t resent having to do it, until there’s no sloth in doing it, until there’s only real enthusiasm in doing it, real interest in doing it, and then you need to enjoy the fact that you’re engaging yourself.
As you do this all laziness is gone. Then as you build that energy, as you build it and build it over days and weeks and months, then the flavour of absorption will start to come. You will find yourself parking up somewhere in the body and just not needing the interest of going exploring for what’s next anymore. Just staying there, staying there, on the back of your front tooth or the inside of your eye. It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter! And everything stops, there. And as you keep doing it, you keep challenging yourself, not with this driven ambition, and this striving and this craving, just out of the sheer interest in it, you will get more and more concentrated. Not stiffening your mind, not pushing your mind, just there’s something that starts to become brighter and clearer and steadier and out of that comes the real bliss of serenity and seclusion. You’ve got to build this kind of, say desire for it, as in it’s got to feel juicy, it’s not dry, you can’t be banging yourself or bullwhipping yourself into it. It’s got to pick you up. You’ve got to say, yes, that’s what I’m going to do now. You’ve got to get into that for a while and then in 9 months time, every time, 2 or 3 times a day or 2 hours in the night, you’ve made it a habit pattern of going through this body, you’re going to start to see real changes.
But where’s the energy going to come from that’s going to surmount all the other things that you’re grappling with? Hopefully, you’re not grappling with laziness, restlessness, unwillingness to do, thinking about stuff without being able to stop.
So this is attitude, over and above the mechanics of how you to do it, it’s the attitude that is the key, the energy that you bring to your practice. So you’ve got to develop a sustained period of practice and wake up your body and get really concentrated in there and start it build it up and build it up and keep going, forget yourself in there, forget yourself, make it a default, a go-to, I’m just sitting with a cup of tea. Just be that interested, there’s so much to explore.
So that the sluggishness and the dullness and the lack of penetration in your mind, without noticing it is worn away. Those circuits though the body you do, whether you’re starting with your hands, or starting from the top of your head or starting with your bones and going through to the blood. Get back into these circuits and keep really going through the body so you forget time. And then when you find yourself doing that and you’re really starting to get absorbed in there and it’s coming to life again and you really can feel the difference between your skin on the outside of your scalp and the blood around there and the bone and the inside of your skull and the teeth or your gums and you start to really get that, then we can start looking at stopping somewhere. Sharpen the blade of your concentration through investigating the body. It’s the opposite way round to starting with resting in stillness and staying in the stillness. This is the way we build the muscle when weight training or it’s like building lung capacity so that you can go under water for 3 or 4 minutes.
It is Willingness to do and enthusiasm that will surmount the many hindrances that stop you from real absorption and concentration. Then you get a sense of purpose for what you’re doing. It’s when you sit down without a sense of purpose that you drift into your meditation and you get smothered with the hindrances. If we sit down with real resolution about our intention to get really concentrated then those hindrances will get brushed aside by that energy. So build it up and get some head of steam up. And you’ll feel, you’ll start to feel the effects of it as you’re coming out of your meditation. Alright, because you’re not just going to get born able to concentrate one time or suddenly you’re just going to wake up and you can do it. It’s the fruit of profound endeavour.
Keep working at it, build it up slowly and your mind will become stable, bright and concentrated.