One Thing at a time! Develop the art of concentration
This article will help you learn the art of concentration through practical exercises; if you are not able to concentrate on something for a reasonable period of time then you will not be able to go far in this world.
During my undergraduate years and also while I was doing my masters I had trouble concentrating. During lectures my mind used to wonder off to far away places and I had to force myself to pay attention to what my professor was saying. When it was time to revise for the exams, I kept thinking about all the things I will do after the exams. Movies that I will watch and places I will go to. It required a great deal of effort on my part to focus on the subject at hand. Surprisingly my results were good; my grades could have been excellent if I had the power of concentration. By the end of each semester I was mentally exhausted.
Since then my ability to concentrate has improved a lot by practicing concentration exercises. If you want anything to be done in a successful way you must concentrate upon your task. Some people are fickle minded, their mind wonders from subject to subject. They might be very talented but because of their short attention span they don’t accomplish much.
You might have noticed that it is much easier to concentrate upon something which you shouldn’t be thinking about, then on something which might do you good. Once you accomplish the power of concentration you will be able to concentrate as you please and achieve wonders in your life.
I will illustrate six practical exercises which you will practice for six weeks. You have to do each exercise for a week and then move on to the next one for next week. It won’t take you more then 15 minutes everyday to do the exercise. These exercises will look very simple and unimportant to you and at times boring but they are extremely beneficial. At the end of six weeks you will notice a profound improvement in your brain power.
Great metaphysic Theron Q. Dumont has illustrated many such exercises in his various books. I have chosen only six so not to overwhelm you. I will write again on this subject soon, after you are done with these exercises and by that time if you want to try some new ones then you could do so.
Sit in a comfortable chair and try to be as still as possible but without straining yourself. You should be perfectly relaxed but don’t make any involuntary muscular movements. Focus all your attention on being still. Do it for five minutes first and once you get used to the idea increase the time to ten and then to fifteen minutes.
Sit in a chair and relax your body. Hold your head up and your chin out, shoulders back. Raise your right arm until it is on the level with your shoulder, pointing to your right. Look around with your head and keep your eyes on your fingers only. Keep the arm perfectly still for one minute. Do the same with your left arm (turn the palm of the hand downward when it is out stretched, as it is the easiest position). If you will fix your gaze firmly on your finger tips, you will know if you are keeping your arm perfectly still. When you are able to keep the arm perfectly steady, increase the time until you are able to do this for five minutes with each arm.
Fill a small glass with water, hold it with your hands and put your arm directly in front of you. Fix your gaze directly at the glass and keep your arm so steady that there is no movement in the water. Do this for one minute with each arm. Increase the time to five minutes once you are able to keep your arm perfectly still.
Put your right hand on knee, both fingers and thumb closed, except the first finger, which points out in front of you. Then move the finger slowly from side to side, keep your attention fixed upon the end of the finger. Do this for five minute with each hand. You will find that your attention will not want to be controlled and will try to move on to something more interesting. This is the whole point of these exercises that you must make sure that your mind does not wonder away. After a bit of practice you will be able to control your attention.
Sit in a chair and place a clock with a second hand on the table. Follow the second hand with your eyes as it goes around. Keep doing this for five minutes. Don’t think of anything else, except the second hand. There is nothing particularly interesting about the second hand that is why it is hard to do this. You need extra effort of will power to do this exercise successfully and that is where its values lie. During all these exercises try to be as still as possible.
WEEK 6 – Exercise in Memory Concentration
Look at the picture in the beginning of this article for two minutes (you can do this with any other picture also). Concentrate on this picture, observe every detail. Shut your eyes and see how much you can remember about this picture. Think of what this picture represents. Think of objects in the foreground, middle ground and background; of details of color and form. Now open your eyes and see how many mistakes you made. Close your eyes again and see now how accurate your mental picture is now. Practice until your mental image is exactly like the original picture or as close to it as possible.
By the end of six weeks you will notice that you have greatly increased your ability to concentrate. When you have this great ability you gain control over your mind as well as your body. When you are doing your daily tasks at work or at home imagine that it is the most important thing in the world, you are not interested in anything else but the task at hand. You will then be able to focus your thoughts on what you do and make your every act an efficient one. As Wallace D. Wattles had said “Every efficient act is a success in itself, and if every act of your life is an efficient one, your whole life MUST be a success”.
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