Exercises in Concentration
by Sri Chinmoy
1. The dot
If you want to develop the power of concentration, then here is an exercise you can try. First wash your face and eyes properly with cold water. Then make a black dot on the wall at eye level. Stand facing the dot, about ten inches away, and concentrate on it. After a few minutes, try to feel that when you are breathing in, your breath is actually coming from the dot, and that the dot is also breathing in, getting its breath from you. Try to feel that there are two persons: you and the black dot. Your breath is coming from the dot and its breath is coming from you.
In ten minutes, if your concentration is very powerful, you will feel that your soul has left you and entered into the black dot on the wall. At this time try to feel that you and your soul are conversing. Your soul is taking you into the soul's world for realisation, and you are bringing the soul into the physical world for manifestation. In this way you can develop your power of concentration very easily. But this method has to be practised. There are many things which are very easy with practice, but just because we do not practise them we do not get the result.
2. Vision and reality
Another exercise you can try is this. First make a very small circle on the wall at eye-level, and inside it make a black dot. It should be black; not blue or red or any other colour. Then stand facing the wall, about three and a half feet away, and focus your attention on the circle. Your eyes should be relaxed and half-open. Let the force of your concentration come from the middle of your forehead. After three or four minutes open your eyes fully and try to feel that, from head to foot, you are all eyes. Your whole physical existence has become nothing but vision, and that vision is focussed on the dot inside the circle. Then start making the object of your concentration smaller. After a few seconds try to feel that your whole body has become as tiny as the dot on the wall. Try to feel that the dot is another part of your own existence. Then enter into the dot, pierce through it and go to the other side. From the other side of the dot, look back and see your own body. Your physical body is on one side, but on the strength of your concentration you have sent your subtle body to the other side of the dot. Through your subtle body you are seeing your physical body, and through your physical body you are seeing your subtle body.
I concentrate for success in my life's journey. I meditate for progress in my life's journey. I contemplate for God-process in my life's journey.
When you began to concentrate, your physical body became all vision. At that time the dot was your reality. When you entered into the dot, then vision and reality became one. You were the vision and you were also the reality. When you looked back at yourself from the dot, the process was reversed. At that time you became the vision outside yourself, and the place to which you returned—your body—was the reality. Then, the vision and the reality became one again. When you can see the vision and the reality in this way, your concentration is absolutely perfect. When your power of concentration can bring you to the other side of the point which you were calling reality, at that time your whole existence will be far beyond both vision and reality. And when you can feel that you have transcended your vision and your reality, you will have boundless power.
If you are my disciple, when you concentrate on the black dot inside the circle, you can try to see your own self there—your own face of aspiration. Feel that you exist there and nowhere else. Then try to feel that your existence, your face, your consciousness—everything—have been replaced by mine. Once you feel that your previous existence has been totally replaced by mine, you will have established your inseparable oneness with me, and my will power is bound to come into your life.
3. My heart-friend
Just as you can concentrate on the tip of your finger, or on a candle or any other material object, you can also concentrate on your heart. You may close your eyes or look at a wall, but all the time you are thinking of your heart as a dear friend. When this thinking becomes most intense, when it absorbs your entire attention, then you have gone beyond ordinary thinking and entered into concentration. You cannot look physically at your spiritual heart, but you can focus all your attention on it. Then gradually the power of your concentration enters into the heart and takes you completely out of the realm of the mind.
If you do not have purity in abundant measure, if countless earthly desires are in possession of the heart, then before concentrating on the heart you should invoke purity. Purity is the feeling of having a living shrine deep in the inmost recesses of your heart. When you feel the divine presence of an inner shrine, automatically you are purified. At that time your concentration on the heart will be most effective.
4. The heartbeat of life
Some seekers like to concentrate on their heartbeat. If you want to do this, do not be afraid that the heart will stop and you will die. If you want to be a real hero in your spiritual life, you can practise concentrating on your heartbeat. This is the golden opportunity for you to enter into the endless life. Each time you hear the sound of your heartbeat, immediately feel there your infinite, immortal life.
5. The inner flower
For this exercise you will need a flower. With your eyes half closed and half open, look at the entire flower for a few seconds. While you are concentrating, try to feel that you yourself are this flower. At the same time, try to feel that this flower is growing in the inmost recesses of your heart. Feel that you are the flower and you are growing inside your heart.
Then, gradually try to concentrate on one particular petal of the flower. Feel that this petal which you have selected is the seed-form of your reality-existence. After a few minutes, concentrate on the entire flower again, and feel that it is the Universal Reality. In this way go back and forth, concentrating first on the petal—the seed-form of your reality—and then on the entire flower—the Universal Reality. While you are doing this, please try not to allow any thought to enter into your mind. Try to make your mind absolutely calm, quiet and tranquil.
After some time, please close your eyes and try to see the flower that you have been concentrating on inside your heart. Then, in the same way that you concentrated on the physical flower, kindly concentrate on the flower inside your heart, with your eyes closed.
- from Meditation, Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction by Sri Chinmoy.