We’ve all seen this scene in movies and TV shows: a major event happens that motivates the protagonist, who has been wasting his life and living aimlessly. He or she studies hard from then on, staying up all night and not being distracted by anything that happens next to him or her. As he or she concentrates, the movie camera shows the seasons changing, and as a result of his or her efforts, he or she achieves the goal of his or her dreams.
We all know that this doesn’t happen easily, and you want to know the secret or the trick to concentration, right? I’m going to share with you my experience, as I’ve seen a remarkable change in the quantity and quality of my concentration over the last six years or so.
I’ve been meditating daily for seven years now. It’s no secret that meditation helps improve focus, and my practice is one of the most relevant in this day and age of so much information to see, hear, and think about. If my brain is a hard disc, it’s a useful way to format it. I encourage you to find a meditation that works for you and do it. It’s a great way to let go of the clutter that is a byproduct of living in the modern world.
Read a book for 10 minutes, for 50 minutes clean your room, look at your phone, and put on make-up in the mirror. 10 minutes reading again, 50 minutes doing something else. This was my level of concentration. Pathetic, right? I thought I was pathetic myself. To change my pathetic self, stop being disappointed in myself and try to change. If I’m critical of myself, I’m losing the biggest ally in the world to encourage me. And I set my goals conservatively, as much as I can handle, for example, 10 to 15 minutes. If I fail to concentrate on my studies or work today, I don’t get disappointed, I try again tomorrow. I don’t criticize myself for my lack of mental strength, instead, I encourage myself: ‘You can do it, if you fail today, you can try again tomorrow’. Instead of criticizing myself, I kept trying every day, and gradually my attention span increased from about 10 minutes to 5 minutes, and now I can concentrate for about 2 hours.
This can be very personal, but I’m going to try. I’ve used meditation to let go of useless thoughts like hating others, caring about what others think of me, etc. I had a habit of hating my husband, and I overcame it and realized that these thoughts were the biggest factor interfering with my concentration.
And because I was so focused on what my neighbours thought of me and how I looked, I was wasting my energy on unnecessary things. For example, my second son stutters badly, and I was mentally shaming him for it. I believed that my son’s shortcomings diminished my honour, so I wasted money and effort on my outward appearance to repair my damaged reputation.
When I meditated, I was able to observe these aspects of myself objectively, and as I moved away from hating my husband and being ashamed of my son, I felt at peace. As a result, my concentration increased. My husband is grateful for the way I respect and love him, and my children’s emotions have also stabilised. Once I moved away from being ashamed of my son, they were able to play football with his peers and go to the zoo with joy and ease.
Concentration can be heightened when you’re emotionally stable, and it lasts longer when your mind is clear of distractions. I recommend meditation. Rather than simply calming your current emotional whirlwind, I recommend a meditation practice that has the power to remove the underlying cause of the emotional whirlwind in the first place. Thank you.