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Why should I learn to focus my mind?

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  • Swami J
    ************************ Swami J s Newsletter ************************ October 29, 2001 Dear Friends, For meditation, we are told to learn to concentrate the
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 29, 2001
      Swami J's Newsletter

      October 29, 2001

      Dear Friends,

      For meditation, we are told to learn to concentrate the mind, to make
      it one-pointed. But WHY? Is there some main reason for this, or are
      we to do it and just have faith that this one-pointedness is going to
      somehow bring enlightenment? (though faith itself is a wonderful and
      essential quality)

      In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali gives a handful of alternative
      suggestions for choosing the object on which we might meditate,
      including breath and certain inner experiences. But the final
      alternative he suggests is that of meditating on whatever object one

      (The actual choice of objects is an important matter, whether an
      inner experience, a mantra, or a religious symbol, but making that
      choice is not what we're looking at here. Here, we are talking about
      the preliminary skill of one-pointedness of mind. Later, if the
      object is well chosen or prescribed, it also has a leading quality,
      that takes us deep into meditation.)

      So, once again, if we are instructed to make the mind one-pointed,
      and are told that we can choose any object we want, why should we do
      this? What immediate benefit does it bring to choose some single
      object, and then sit around trying to concentrate on that object?
      Questioned like this, it can sound like a strange thing to do! (which
      is sometimes said by the critics of meditation)

      The sage Vyasa is the most highly regarded writer on the Yoga Sutras,
      and he wrote a commentary about 2000 years ago. For many of the 195
      sutras of the Yoga Sutras, he gives lengthy explanations. But for
      this sutra, he offers one simple statement. Vyasa points out that: IF

      Many of our anxieties in life and meditation come from the inability
      of the mind to stay focused, rather than becoming distracted or
      disturbed by external stimuli or the noise of our mind. As the mind
      becomes focused on our one object of meditation, and that then
      carries over into those other matters as well, the whole of life
      becomes meditation. This, in turn comes back to those private times
      of meditation, and we are then even more free to go still deeper.

      May you find one object that is just right for you, as a tool for
      training your mind (though not for suppression or repression of
      thoughts and emotions). May that one object become a close companion
      for you in daily life, and in meditation. May this focus bring you
      inner peace and balance, so that you may find the deeper Truth.

      In loving service,

      Swami J

      Ongoing class schedule &
      24-Hour Retreat (November 17): http://SwamiJ.com
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