Concentration – “It ain’t all it’s cracked…wait what was I saying?”
One point that is often not made clear to people when they first stroll onto the occult boulevard full of mystical swindlers and neurotic magicians is that meditation is NOT concentration. This is a common misconception we, when we first hear about it, are apt to come to.
Concentration is the extended focus of the mind upon an object (such as a flickering tea-lite candle flame), an idea (such as Love), an action (such as shaking someone) etc to the exclusion of others. Meditation is the backlash – the riptide – if you will that occurs due to extended concentration, but is not concentration in and of itself. Meditation is much more contemplative than concentration and does not limit itself to one thought, or even to any thoughts. Concentration is from the mind to the point of focus. Meditation is from the point of focus to the mind.
Concentration can potentially come about in three manners, only two of which are any real interest. The first is through an aggressive grasp and directing of the mind through the will to some particular focus, essentially grasping the bull by the horns and straining to steer. The second is where the mind is pointed towards the focus gently when it goes astray. The third bares similarity to the second – and for most purposes can be considered the same – but is the natural tendency of the mind to some particular focus, due to a burning interest in it, or out of habit. This third one, while ‘not of any real interest’ (at least, in that is not reliable, and the occultist wants a mind that can be directed and concentrated on any object) does suggest that we shall have an easier time if our focus is of something interesting to us. It should also be mentioned that what is said above also applies in the opposite. What you concentrate on more, has the tendency to become more interesting.
The first method of achieving concentration has its uses. But even though we all love the manliness of it…and if you are female and do not like manliness then to hell with you – or so we are told by one religious institution after another - one use it does not have is in achieving meditation, as it is an entirely active method, and meditation requires – at least at some point – a passivity so that we may receive the ‘backlash.’ It also has a tendency to come very readily and leave just as fast...just like men you pick up at a nightclub who have had too much to drink.
This then brings us to the problem many have with straining when trying to “meditate.” Whereas deep concentration – and most definitely meditation – require a relaxed state of mind. People strain their eyes looking at an object, they tense their forehead trying to focus…as if tensing it would squeeze out all the unwanted thoughts. We even try and contort ourselves into positions that we find uncomfortable and are not ready for because we are told they “promote deep meditation.” All idiotic…and all lead to less concentration and more aggravation.
The periods when concentration wanes are not anything to be aggravated about. They are part of the cycle that MUST happen as part of the process before we can attain any real state of what might be called meditation. If anything, they should be welcomed. Though we should always, as soon as we realize it has happened, gently direct the thoughts back to the focus. Emphasis on gently. Like an old shepherd guiding with his staff…and not the one who whacks his sheep all the way home with it and then shoves it up their ass in regular Welsh and Kiwi style! Random thoughts about the day, worries, joys all crop up. Old forgotten memories crop up in the hundreds. Random emotions crop up, you’ll probably feel fucking pissed off sometimes during meditation for no reason you can point your stubby green sausages at and say: “I blame you!” But all this ‘cropping up’ that is making us say: “I can’t meditate, my mind won’t focus” is exactly what is going to allow us to meditate…if we do not despair and give up on ourselves.
Further, “clinging tenaciously” to the object of concentration is not helping either. It is not during the concentration on the glowing candle in a dark room, or on the sound of a mantra vibrating mentally that we get to catch glimpses of ourselves we have never seen before, and drink deep from our own cistern. No. It is when the façade of the candle disappears to us, and in the pin drop silences between the mantra that we get such a pleasure. Yet when such a time is reached, people will think “oh no, I am not concentrating on the flame” and will go back to it. Such people cut down a whole tree, then use only a twig of it for fueling their fire. Dwell in such a silence when it comes…there will be plenty of time for “concentrating” when thoughts return.
“So relax, take it slow, and let the good times roll.”
PS I am not writing primarily on the yogic ideas of Dhyana, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist.
PPS Yes. I have a neurotic, compulsive obsession with sexuality. How observant of you to notice. Have a cookie.-Rawiri (The Beloved)