The Power of Concentration
Concentrating yourself into Flow
Concentration is the key. All learning, ability, personal magnetism, knowledge you acquire are a matter of concentration. The effort you invest into creating a new reality must be higher than the momentum of the old reality.
The power of Concentration is not a natural default, it must be developed as if developing a higher mind. Without concentration, your emotions, impulses, habits, physical needs, whims, aversions and attachments run your life. The only faculty that can overcome the “animal-self” is Concentration directed by Will.
I recently worked with someone who wanted to become a painter. Like so many others, he was intent on painting “as soon as he felt like it”. And like I have with so many others, I told him to paint whether he felt like it or not. “You don’t begin with Flow” I taught. “Flow is something you get into while Concentrating“. He had been wanting to paint for a decade, but had not started yet because he “didnt feel like it”. In this way, his Emotions controlled his actions, instead of him becoming bigger than his Emotions. So he learned to just start painting, no matter the mood. And soon, while painting and concentrating, “not feeling like it” turned into zest and passion for painting. Such is the power of Concentration.
One of the most powerful exercises of the Reality Creation Supercourse is where I take a boring, random text and energize it through the power of concentration, instead of allowing the circumstance (the “boring” text) to dictate my mood. That exercise clearly demonstrates that the energy-state you have is determined by nothing other than your concentrated intention.
Concentration leads to Well-Being
Concentration means you are no longer swayed by numerous appetites, obsessions and restless behavior. You slow down. You are poised. You know what you want, why you want it and you focus.
Since most peoples concentration is untrained, developing it will make it appear as if you have magical abilities compared to others. But its not really magic, its just Concentration. Concentration implies that you choose something to concentrate on. Being too broad and general as in “Well, doing either X, Y or Z – its all good” will not necessarily help. Concentration requires you to be specific. And as you concentrate on one task, energy begins to accumulate until you enter a state of “flow”.
A concentrated person cannot experience any troubles, any anger, fear or frustration. Since they are dedicated to the task at hand, in the here and now, all other considerations recede into the background and are not remembered or felt. A concentrated person does not walk to the refrigerator every 30 minutes to get some food, the very food that can, in turn, stimulate emotions that distract concentration.
A negative state is not the result of Concentration. That is a misconception. A negative state of mind and emotion is the result of lack of concentration. As a rule, concentration is usually uplifting, mind-clearing, energizing and even relaxing. Contrary to popular opinion, effort and work are relaxing when done without resistance.
If you are weak-minded you will not be able to focus on any particular subject, skill, thought or action and your overall state will deteriorate. Soon your health and life circumstances will reflect your weakness. Because concentration is undeveloped, it will seem difficult to remove your mind from the undesirable and re-direct it to what is good for you.
Scattering your attention to too much entertainment and newsmedia weakens your Concentration. If your mind is roaming here and there all the time, no energy is accumulated and nothing is accomplished. One way to strengthen your ability to concentrate is to stop scattering attention and start prioritizing. Priority-Lists are a helpful success tool. Another way to strengthen your concentration is to slow down. Dont act, work, walk or look in too much of a hurry. Slow down your eyes for example. Shifty eyes can only come from an unconcentrated mind. Concentration slows the eyes down. Slowing down the eyes improves concentration. The same goes for walking. Awkward, hurried and nervous walking creates a state of scattered tension and a state of scattered tension creates awkward, hurried and nervous walking. Slow down and walk with more poise and awareness. When you are talking to someone, dont allow that person to completely distract you from your poise. Keep your own intentions in mind. You can appreciate the other person, but you dont have to let their words and actions remove you from your own intentions.
Some self-regulation is a prerequisite for Concentration. While it may be nearly impossible to control ones thoughts much of the time, it is possible to control some of your attention, speech and body movements. If you observe any person you consider charismatic or very successful, you will notice that they control their movements and physical body posture. You will also notice that they rarely participate in activities that stir up emotions – noisy locations, drugs and lurid movies for example. This is because stirring up emotions tends to be a distraction to steadiness and cause erratic energy-patterns.
One of the secrets of concentration is “to do what you are doing when you are doing it, and to not do what you are not doing when you are not doing it”. That means, when you make love, be fully present. When you work, be fully with the work. When you wash the dishes, be fully with washing the dishes. When you play, be fully with playing”. This not only expands your sense of time, it also builds your concentration and your well-being. Being on vacation and thinking of work is just as mind-weakening as being at work while thinking of vacation. The same goes for playing while thinking of work and working while thinking of play. Or being in a relationship while yearning to be alone and being alone while yearning to be in a relationship. Such tendencies need to be overcome if you want to live a really fantastic life. When you go out and take a walk, see if you can be fully with the walk you are taking. Look at your surroundings. Look at the trees, birds, cars, buildings. Do not go elsewhere or try to be elsewhere. When you are meeting someone you deem “unpleasant”, try to maintain your focus on them and the conversation or task at hand anyway. Centralize your mind on what is happening right now and you develop the powers of the mind.
Since concentration is connected to the nervous system and the muscles, doing sports and workout benefits your concentration, as well as taking in nutrition that is fairly wholesome. Without being a health-food fanatic, you can reduce eating too many sugars and carbs for example.
Slowing down your breathing and sometimes breathing deliberately will improve concentration. If you are in a situation you deem important – a flirt encounter, a business negotiation, a job interview, a lecture you are holding, an argument you had with someone – watch your breathing and exercise some control of it. If you can control any one thing, you have more control over the present reality. And it does not even have to be your breathing. It can also be controlling the movement of your fingers, hands, feet or legs. Any form of self-control will increase your concentration and also your power over the situation. Thats why, when in conversation, I let others do most of the talking. I save my energy and only talk when I have something kind or interesting to say. This allows me to keep my concentration instead of dispersing.
Your power of concentration will allow you to succeed in almost anything. Really, almost anything. To further develop your concentration, quit spending too much time with or associating with people who are fearful, dogmatic, nervous or angry – unless your powers are developed to a point where they no longer bother you.
If you feel yourself getting scattered, nervous, self-conscious, shy or weak and unconcentrated, assume an upright body-posture and slow down your breathing. Slow down your eyes and look at something or someone for longer than 20 seconds. It takes about 20 seconds to regain concentration.
Let go of wishful thinking, magical thinking, desire, yearning, longing and ideas of entitlement. That is, instead of having the childish mind cry “I want, I want, I want”, have it say “I can”, “I can”, “I can” or “I will”, or “I have”. If there is some reality you want to manifest, hold the thought of it already being true. And then concentrate on that thought again and again and again and again. If you concentrated on a thought yesterday, see if you can do it again today, tomorrow and also next week and next month. You concentrate until it manifests. You can repeat the thought in your mind or visualize its representation. Allow your words and actions to be aligned with that thought.
Your actions reveal what you really believe. If you say “I dont mind him not calling me”, the action of staring at the phone every few minutes reveals your true beliefs. If you say “I really believe I am successful” but find yourself groveling at every offer of success, you know you dont really believe you are all that. It is easier to see what someone believes by looking at his actions and the fruits of his actions, than by what they are saying or wishing. So let your words and actions be congruent with your thoughts. This super-charges your concentration for the manifestation of new realities.
Every day offers opportunities to develop focus. Lets say you are shopping and looking for an item. The shop you are in does not offer the item. So you go to another shop. They dont offer that either. So you go to another shop. They dont have it. So you ask the manager how to get it. He does not know. So you go to another shop. They dont have it. You again ask the manager. He doesnt know. You ask him to look it up in the catalog. He tells you where you can get it. Its in another town. So you drive there. They are out of the product but tell you how you can order it. So you go order it. How many people would have given up long before? Most people, unfortunately. The person who went through all this is a person of concentration and power. They have a zest for life, they embrace challenge and a “No!” turns on their determination even more.
Concentration, Decisiveness and Willpower
You can also exercise concentration by making rapid decisions. The higher your concentration is, the more quickly you will tend to make decisions, whereas when you are of weak state you will tend to procrastinate and put decisions off. Since not-acting usually requires less effort, choosing and action develops your inner muscle. I really do believe that it is better to make “bad” decisions than no decision at all, because the act of exercising choice and will is primary, and what decision is made secondary. And even no-decision is a decision; it is a decision for nothing in particular.
Write down three things that have been waiting for a Decision:
Decide on them quickly, right now, while reading this article. Dont worry about a Decision being “wrong”. Just go with what you intuitively sense is alright. And then notice how the mere act of deciding, gets energy going and moving. You feel at once empowered. A life that was at a standstill has received another fresh injection of life.
Next, list 5 things you could do ahead of time:
* I could get up one hour earlier the next days
* I could shop for foods before I am asked to
* I could take care of all the stuff on my to-do list today instead of this week
* I could immediately stop procrastinating regarding some forms I have to fill out
What makes things “difficult” to do is not doing them. The power-to-do is determined by concentration. Once you tackle something, it is no longer bigger than you, you become bigger than it and it becomes easy.
Simplicity and Concentration
Simplicity heightens your concentration. Complexity scatters attention (unless you are well trained). When you simplify your work, your life, the questions you ask, the answers you give, energy is saved and focused. Your communication is improved. Complexity tends to obfuscate the truth, simplicity tends to bring out the truth. If you get lost in complexity, relax and back up to distill your situation to its essence.
Concentration and Habit
You are responsible for effort, not result, for action, not outcome. Life is easier if you concentrate on living and being your potential to its fullest instead of trying to achieve results. In this way you concentrate on what is and under your control and leave the rest up to “the Universe”.
Effort and Concentration can be trained to a point where nothing bothers or distracts you any more. I seek to do something difficult every day because it is difficult. And that I do that “difficult” thing until it is no longer difficult but fun. The “fun” is not inherent in any object or situation, it is created by me, by my no longer having resistance to it. Any situation you deem “difficult” is an opportunity to grow. Nothing is really “difficult”, only thinking (instead of just doing it) makes it so.
To Break a Pattern of Habit, follow this Concentration-Technique:
1. Define the Habit you`d like to Release
2. Define the Opposite of that Habit or a New Habit you’d like to replace it with
3. Act out the old Habit deliberately (you gain control over what you do intentionally)
4. Act out the new Habit deliberately
5. In the next weeks, keep intentionally switching back and forth between doing the old habit and the new habit. After a while, only do the new habit never doing the old habit again.
In society Concentration is associated with great effort and tension, but the release of tension (relaxation) is what makes Concentration possible. If you can carry out day-to-day actions without feeling rushed or hurried or under stress and duress, you improve your concentration. You reject the perceived “pressures” of the world and simply do what you are doing more consciously and lovingly.
Feeling victim to the world comes from early childhood in which negative behaviour (crying, shouting) seemed to get you what you want (food). Feeling negative to get what you want becomes a conditioned response which then, as an adult, no longer works. Adult life turns everything upside down: Now, to get what you want, it is wiser to feel well and positive. The “pressures” we perceive from the world also come from early childhood. But as an adult those pressures are not really there any more and you can allow yourself to have some time. You can slow down and finish whatever task you are doing in your own time.
An exercise I frequently recommend in this context is to do things in slow motion. You can walk the stairs in slow motion, fix a lamp in slow motion, pack a car in slow motion, cook in slower motion…all of which will put control over your body back into your hands. As you slow reality down deliberately, you regain control over reality. And this is what turns scattered attention into Poise and Concentration.
Choosing Employees and Partners by their ability to Concentrate
Of course you can predict a persons potential and future by their ability to concentrate. If they are unable to do so, you have trouble coming your way if you employ them or take them as your partner. One of the reasons I write long and elaborate articles is because only people with some concentration will be able to follow or even complete reading them. This way I can make sure that if any of them become my coaching clients, they will be capable of succeeding with the coaching.
Priority-Lists reduce Stress
At least 80% of all Fear is due to lack of concentration. Scattered attention causes sensory overload or overstimulation. When attention is scattered too widely and there are too many things and impressions flooding Awareness. This first causes (Dis)stress and Overwhelm. Scattered energy also weakens the immune system. Fear is an early warning that energy is either being wasted or invested into the wrong channels. In most cases you should feel fear when your energy is being depleted. As you ignore the fear and continue with the not-good-for-you behavior, whatever problem it was warning against becomes bigger.
That is why making priority lists, doing tasks more slowly, creating to-do-lists, chunking down big tasks to many smaller steps, and focusing on the here and now as well as establishing what is really important and letting go of what is not important, strengthens concentration and lessens fear.
If you can reduce 50 things to focus on to only 10 or if you can shift from what you dont want to what you want, you will be reducing the possibility for fear. Fear is a contraction of your muscles, reflecting a contraction of your Being and a contraction of your attention to avoid something you are worried of happening. You can ask yourself: “What thoughts or actions must I be preoccupied with to feel this contraction or resistance?” and “What positive thing would I like to be focusing on instead?”. You will notice that I said “What thoughts or actions must I be preoccupied with” and not “must I be focused on”…because if you were actually focused (even on the negative), you would not be feeling that much fear. Some techniques to overcome fear do focus on the fear itself by asking: “If what you are afraid of happens, then what?”, “And if that happens, then what?” and so on, until the mind is calm and focused and has fully confronted what is actually going on.
The power of single-pointedness
A well-known sage said the following:
“The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress”
“No one succeeds without effort… Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance.”
Single-pointedness or One-Pointedness is the ability to focus attention on one thing and one thing only. This could be one thought or one object. This very simple exercise caused me to have the most powerful experience I have had in my entire life thus far (described in this Interview with me) – the state ancient traditions describe as “Enlightenment” or “Cosmic Consciousness”. I think today, decades later, I understand why I had that experience: The one-pointedness stopped all thought, causing me to de-identify from my normal body/mind leaving me in a state of total awareness of the whole Universe. But back then, at the age of 14 when I focused on a single thought for 7 hours, I didnt understand it. I hadnt read all these wise far-eastern books yet. But “something within me” must have understood it, otherwise I would not have done something as crazy as focus for that long. But even if you do not experience that very intense and special state, one-pointedness, as a Meditation, as many hundreds of other beneficial effects, a few of which are: Total peace and calm and training your willpower. I´d recommend at least 10 minutes of one-pointedness each day for anyone. It will do more for you than any book in the world. You could do it with a candle. With a spot on the wall. With a single thought. With anything as long as you stick your attention to it and just keep it there, no matter what. Back when I did this for seven hours I went through many different stages and levels of emotion. I recall going through some melancholy, some frustration, impatience, fear (of going insane), unbelievable boredom but I kept on. I also recall going through various states of joy and elation. But I kept on anyway. Something within me knew that if I kept focusing, I would finally go through all levels of energy. I intuitively understood this. And so it happened.