Audio version read by Rev. Steven Lane Taylor, B.Msc.
In today’s complex world, more than ever before, so much is competing for one’s attention. It is increasingly easier to become distracted from whatever it is that a person attempts to improve or accomplish in one’s life. People living in contemporary society simply have much more to do and be responsible for than did previous generations.
There may be less to do in regard to physical work, perhaps because of the high-tech age into which the world has moved, but this has been replaced with work requiring our mental attention or concentration. Our daily lifestyle requires a state of mind that can maintain concentration on appropriate priorities, if we are to remain on track as to what is expected of us by others and, most importantly, what we expect of ourselves.
For many of us, maintaining any consistent degree of concentration is difficult due to the demands which we may be facing in our daily lives. Thus, attempting to maintain concentration may, in itself, become a source of stress, as we struggle with our minds to keep them focused on the business at hand. Such stress is even more pronounced if a person is functioning on a purely intellectual level in life, without the support and relief that the spiritual presence of God within a person’s mind can provide to the more surface levels that are attempting to maintain concentration.
There are two basic forms of concentration practice available, the intellectual and the spiritual. Most people function only on the intellectual level and that includes many individuals professing some sort of religious faith. In the vast majority of such cases of the believer, God is involved in only the most difficult of times.
As we evolve, however, the Presence of God is involved the majority of the time, and not just in times of crisis or acute stress on the intellectual faculties of the mind. Such a daily communion with the Presence of God turns anything that might begin as an intellectual concentration into a practice of spiritual concentration.
The power of spiritual concentration can be emphasized even more if it is realized that what normally disturbs or distracts a person’s concentration takes place at a personal level of surface ego consciousness. It is one’s personality level of mind that is most easily vulnerable to being diverted because it is so susceptible to reacting to outer sense impressions or environmental input.
However, when individuals are maintaining their concentration at a spiritual level, the lesser stimuli that attract the attention of the personal ego level of the mind are left behind, so that the attention of the mind can train itself on the immediate business at hand.
The benefits of the power of concentration are numerous. For the sake of encouragement as to the great value concentration of the mind can provide, let’s highlight only a few areas of our lives and being that can benefit from applying the power of concentration.
Most obvious, and perhaps most important in any benefit to be derived from the power of concentration is that of achieving the goals that we set out to realize. Far more people would accomplish the goals they started out to achieve if their concentration had been maintained on what they were attempting to complete.
By keeping our concentration on an original goal, and by possibly utilizing spiritual concentration, we may accomplish far more than our original goal. This is because the original goal was a starting point of concentration which, step by step, led us to different or loftier aims. With a new sense of achievement over and above what we had originally intended, we are able to maintain concentration.
Striving to improve our career or employment status can be enormously affected by our ability to maintain concentration; first, in whatever goals we are trying to accomplish, and second, in actually taking the steps to achieve them. Realization of a successful career can become sidelined by losing concentration as a result of co-workers or associates we must interact with, along with personal or family commitments. Practicing the power of concentration should not be intended to block out such interactions while they are occurring, but rather, to make the most productive use of the time when they are not taking place, by bringing the mind to a full concentration when the time is available.
To be creative, a person must transcend the surface levels of the mind to enter into the creative levels where true innovation exists in the expression of uniqueness, originality, discovery, and inspiration. The practice of concentration enables an individual who is proficient at it to shift mental gears from the outer surface, intellectual, and analytical levels into contact with the creative flow or intuitive levels of the mind. Concentration, in and of itself, will not allow entry to the creative level. However, it will focus the mind inwards, adequately creating a mental atmosphere conducive to the emergence of the creative flow on the mind’s surface levels. This allows the resourcefulness to be comprehended and recognized as a guiding force in whatever a person’s creative pursuits might be.
Being able to concentrate our attention on those we love, and thus be able to love more abundantly can, next to our relationship to God, be the most important thing in our lives. No matter what we may accomplish as a result of our concentration powers in a worldly sense, it means little, if anything, unless its fruits are shared with others on a deeper, more personal level. Having the control over our mind to be able to leave the proverbial “office at the office” can require the ability and mental agility to shift our focus from concentration at the workplace to those who give us purpose.
The power of ordinary intellectual concentration has its benefits; however, if concentration becomes aided by the spiritual levels of our mind or, more specifically, by the Presence of God within us, then the power of concentration can become far more effective and potent. If we can truly turn over our personal will to God, to be replaced by God’s Will for us, then all the power of our minds, including our powers of concentration, will be empowered by the Presence of God within us.
Dr. Paul Leon Masters
Text taken from Dr. Paul Leon Masters’ “The Theocentric Way of Life,” Volume 2: Module 45.
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Intro and ending music © “Night Radiance” by Maxim Kornyshev