When one sits for meditation, mind plays the pivotal role in the progress of the continuous process of meditation. Initially the mind unaccustomed to the new game of calming the thought process, leap about in an uncontrolled way. To remove tossing and other obstacles to one-pointed ness, it is thus necessary to adamantly fix the mind on one object alone. If the mind runs with its natural process, pulling it back again and again is indeed necessary. The mind while meditating wants to create hundreds of alternate thought forms. However, the mind if not disciplined then no progress can be made in meditation.
Mind in meditation is that elementary base which acts like a vehicle to transport one from his own self to his inner self. It is the guiding star in uniting one with the supreme consciousness. Quite ideally therefore it is necessary to introspect and watch the mind carefully. To still the mind in meditation is thus necessary to feel the inward journey. Bubbling thoughts in the mind therefore must be silenced and emotions should be calmed and this is the very first step of focusing the mind in meditation.
The purpose of focusing the mind or concentrating it, is to still the mental waves. One should not allow the mind to dissipate energy uselessly on vain thoughts, worries, imagination and fears. Rather, through constant practice it is indeed necessary to hold the mind in meditation in one thought form for a particular time frame and then slowly increase the time limit. This is how the mind in meditation is tamed, concentrated to one point and then finally focused. It is only through a focused mind one experiences blissfulness from within. The mind is generally attracted to pleasing or favorite ideas. Therefore, concentrating on something that is appealing can become beneficial in meditation. Because of its natural externalizing bent, in the beginning concentrating the mind can be done whilst focusing it on gross objects. A flame, the moon or a concrete spiritual symbol can be focused upon with open eyes. Later subtle objects and abstract ideas can be used in calming the mind while meditating.
By manipulating the mind in meditation one becomes successful to bring it under control and compel it to concentrate. However concentrating the mind in meditation is far different from the idea of wrestling with it as struggle only sets more mental waves into motion. It is through visualization, regular chanting of prayer and japa the mind is focused in the process of meditation. Patience is very much needed while concentrating the mind. Cheerfulness and tenacity is also important. Success in focusing the mind however comes eventually. By serious introspection, it is possible to discover the various impediments to concentration and those impediments could be removed with patience and effort. The main idea of concentrating the mind in meditation is to overcome body consciousness, whilst becoming aware about the inner self, the super consciousness. When the mind is more concentrated, more power is brought to bear on one point whilst making the continuous process of meditation, a success.
The benefit of focusing the mind in meditation is colossal. It is amidst the acuity of the focused mind one goes beyond the "I" feeling; it is then one's uniqueness, consciousness, senses, intellect and ego merges in its origin. The purpose of life hence is to fix the mind on the Absolute. When it is so fixed, one becomes calm, serene, steady and strong. In concentration the senses cease to function, and there is no longer awareness of the body and surroundings. As it deepens, one experiences great joy and spiritual intoxication. Concentration opens the inner chambers of love and the way to meditation is therefore the sole key to the realm of Eternity.
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