Concentration is the method where an individual can focus on one matter by mental effort and undisturbed mind. The art of concentration is the way to develop the mind to be able to concentrate. Hindu religion and tradition has been in the forefront of developing this art, as it is the only religion besides Buddhism to prosper the art of meditation. Meditation is a form done by concentration to reach and find out the ultimate knowledge through self-observance, in spiritually thinking – being enlightened.
Some of the important ancient practices of the art of concentration done in Hindu tradition and society are listed as below.
1. Chanting OM (ॐ ) Mantra
A Mantra is a syllable or word, usually without any particular meaning, that is repeated for the purpose of focusing the mind. It is not an affirmation used to convince of something. One of the most significant syllables is “OM” or “AUM”, which when chanting repeatedly produces the vibration that allows the mind to fix concentration on one word and experience a deeper level of awareness. In continuing the mantra of OM, the sound becomes increasingly abstract and indistinct. Deep level of consciousness is experienced after some time of continuation usually the number is fixed to 108 counts and 1008 in advance form. It also has the psychological advantage that develops positive qualities within oneself and benefits people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Om mantra is believed to be the easiest form of concentration practice as it is easier to focus with the mantra than with the breathing. A person should sit still with erect spine and closed legs, and with closed eyes. Some use mala or necklace of 108 beads to help with the counting.
2. Third Eye Method
This method is to concentrate with eyes closed with any posture at the center of two eyebrows in the forehead. The attention is constantly redirected to this point avoiding unnecessary thoughts, as a means to silence the mind. By time the “silent gaps” between thoughts get wider and deeper. Sometimes this is accompanied by physically “looking”, with eyes closed, towards that spot.
This method is to focus on one of the seven chakras of the body i.e., Muladhara (base of the spine), Svadhisthana (just below the navel), Manipura (stomach area), Anahata (center of the chest), Vishuddha (base of the throat), Ajna (between the eyebrows) and Sahasrara (top of the head).
This is the type to focus on an external object specially lit candle, image or a symbol. It is done open eyes gazing at a fixed object and then closing them but still viewing the object in the mind. This helps with both the concentration and visualization powers.
This basically lies on yoga category but helps acutely in the concentration of the mind. This is divided into 4 steps with 4 seconds of each. One is breathe in with the nose for 4 seconds, then hold the breath for 4 seconds and exhale through the mouth for 4 seconds, then stop for 4 seconds. This can be done anywhere and it is to be acknowledged that the abdomen moves and not the chest while breathing. It is necessary to watch the abdomen being large during inhalation and small during exhalation.
Upon practicing these few concentration exercises each day, concentration is believed to grow and develop with a wonderful result. It is of the utmost value to learn how to concentrate because any task can be completed successfully or appropriately only with full concentration or by putting entire thought upon the idea of working out.