Concentration signifies the state of being at a centre (“con” and
“centrum”). Applied to thought, it is the act of bringing the
mind to a single point. Each human being must practise
concentration subjectively and objectively. In other words,
each human being aims with more or less precision at
concentration on a point within and a point without his own
world. Concentration “without” is illustrated when you devote all
your attention upon Nature, such as learning a trade, a
profession, a science, an art or some form of business.
This is Evolution, outgoing or positive mental energy. I shall
call this Objective Concentration. Concentration “within” implies
the withdrawing of attention from the external world and the
placing of mind on “God,” “Spirit,” “Heaven,” “Religion,”
“Peace,” “Nirvana,” “Eternity,” etc. This is Involution, i.e.,
incoming or negative energy.
When Objective Concentration alone is practised, you develop into
a hard-headed, practical man of the world or a successful man of
business. You are keen and shrewd. The world is a very
matter-of-fact thing to you. You cannot think of anything else
beyond money-making and pleasures and worldly affairs. You are a
“worldling of the world,” very clever, rich, and a master along
your own lines.
But spiritually you are an imbecile, worse than a baby. This is
the Objective Mind –the “deepest immersed in matter, literally
made of the dust.” “It is the brain of worldly wisdom, common
sense, prudence, methodical arrangement, order, discipline,
classification, the skill and knowledge of the expert in any
branch or department of art or science.” This side of the mind is
well developed in Scientists, Mathematicians and Businessmen,
etc. Where it is not guided by the Subjective Mind, it can only
see diversity and difference and is the slave of Maya–the slayer
of the Real.
Subjective Concentration is seeking the Kingdom of Heaven within
you. “God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship in
Spirit and Truth.” LAPLACE, the great astronomer, asserted that
he had swept the heavens with his telescope and found neither God
nor Heaven. Yes, poor LAPLACE! He looked for God objectively
instead of subjectively.
The Kingdom of God comes not with ‘observation’ but it is
‘within’ you. The be-all and the end-all of religion is the
practice of Subjective Concentration. The performance of
objective work by the human organism necessitates expenditure of
energy and at last death, because all Objective Concentration
means ‘going from’ the Absolute centre–God–and hence it expends
Subjective Concentration means ‘coming to’ the centre and hence
it husbands and recuperates this energy. Now nature is motion to
and from, and Spirit–the centre of Life. This two-fold motion
constitutes what is known as polarity–Evolution and
Involution–negative and positive. At the negative pole life
becomes involved, i.e., ‘wrapped up’ in form. At the positive
pole life ‘evolves’ or becomes expressed in nature. In Subjective
Concentration you return for fresh supplies to the inexhaustible
storehouse of force–the Absolute Will.
Jesus healed the sick, exhibited control over external nature by
raising the dead, because his chaste soul could receive nothing
negatively from God and could give it out positively to the
objective world. All power comes from God. I would impress upon
you the all-important necessity of placing yourself in a
magnetically passive attitude towards the Universal Will and then
of taking up a calm, positive attitude towards the phenomenal
world–which is a projection of the lower nature and hence must
be handled masterfully, fearlessly and confidently. Be positive
to the external world. Be negative and receptive to the Lord’s
Will-force. Remember this.
This brings me to the supremest and most solid truth contained in
the Science of prayer. The praying mind, by its mere attitude of
faith and earnest expectation, opens itself out to the tremendous
inflow of Divine Energy. It draws close to the centre of
all-power, wisdom and love, and drinks deep of the living waters
of life so that even the very face or flesh begins to shine under
the influence of this self-polarization — if I may be permitted
to use this word — through prayer. Here is the causa nuxus
between a prayer and its sure reply. Do you remember what Lord
Rosebery said of the great Puritan Mystic Oliver Cromwell? If
not, please let me quote: “The secret of his extraordinary
success — he was a practical mystic — the most formidable and
terrible of all combinations. The man who combines inspiration,
apparently derived — in my judgment, really derived — from
close communion with the Supernatural and the Celestial, a man
who has that inspiration and adds to it the energy of a mighty
man of action, such a man as that lives in communion on a _Sinai_
of his own; and when he pleases to come down to this world below,
seems armed with no less than the terrors and decrees of the
Now both forms of concentration must be practised so as
to hold the two poles in the even balance of harmonious growth.
HOW TO CONCENTRATE OBJECTIVELY.
(a) In all undertakings whether of small or great importance shut
off all thoughts and ideas except such as have any immediate and
direct bearing upon the thing in hand. Pay attention. Bend all
the energies of your mind and will upon it till it is completed
to your satisfaction. Divert your attention from one thing to
another only when you sanction by a resolve and understand why
you do so. Your daily work which you must choose according to the
special bent of your mind, will present you opportunities.
(b) Control impulse. Suppose an idea enters your mind. Compose
yourself quietly before carrying out its purport. Consider it.
Turn it over in your mind. Contemplate it. Weave your mental
energies around it, as it were, till at last the idea with your
final decision stands out clear-cut and well-defined. Then
proceed to act it out physically with your mental concentration
cutting a way for you straight on to the execution of your
designing. This is forethought.
(c) In perfect concentration time vanishes. In working out a
design on which you have set your heart dispense altogether with
the element of time and work at it concentratedly for days,
months and years with confident expectation of success.
(d) Take a picture, representing a landscape, the interior of a
building, an assembly of persons, a square, a triangle or a more
complicated geometrical figure. Look at it well. Then lay it
aside. Close your eyes. Reproduce the picture mentally in detail.
Then repose your mind on the same image to the exclusion of all
other thoughts. This is a more fixed and meditative method and
will sharpen the mind wonderfully. It will also develop the power
of conscious Mental Imagery. The key to Objective Concentration
is Conscious Attention.
Taken from “The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga” by A. P. Mukerji.
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