Attention & Concentration
Exercise #1 - Mental Plane Group
Continue on as before with the Star Exercise morning and evening, Relaxation, Silence, and the Mental Contact with Universal Life Energy. To these you will add two new Exercise, the first of the mental group, called ATTENTION and CONCENTRATION.
ATTENTION is developed by arousing and putting in order all your perceptive faculties. Everything about you holds its message, has a special significance with relation to other things or to yourself. In the measure that you are alert to fathom that message you will take an interest in the thing, and the more interest you take the more attentive you will be.
Try always to get a quick but complete understanding of whatever you may encounter through any of your senses. Determine in a few moments, if possible, its form, size, color and general appearance, and then, penetrating deeper, try to discover what it stands for.
The more you practice this, the more sensitive you will become to the deeper meanings of things that before were meaningless. You will perceive and take advantage of opportunities which present themselves in your life, because you will be able to see just where otherwise insignificant events were leading. Your mind will be stimulated and clarified, your mental vision sharpened. You will find yourself thinking directly and truly, picking out your objective without hesitation or loss of time, and striking for it confidently. And the reason will be that, by developing Attention, you have made possible the realization of that other priceless quality, the Key to all mental power—CONCENTRATION.
CONCENTRATION demands, in the beginning, at least, complete solitude for its proper performance. Choose a time and place where for ten or fifteen minutes you can remain absolutely undisturbed. There should be no distracting circumstances; the room should be quiet, comfortable, and in a subdued light.
Having established yourself in such favorable conditions, choose a mental concept of some material object of a pleasant nature—for instance, a flower—and concentrate your thoughts on it. You will notice that your mind continually wanders away from that concept of a flower, turning in almost any direction except the one you have set for it. By an effort of will power you can bring it back time after time, until finally it will stay fixed where you want it.
After you have achieved this much, try to summon up in your mind a strong, clear picture of that flower. Make it so vivid that it becomes real to you, affecting even your sensory nerves with an imagined fragrance. Then it becomes an actuality to you, and when you have done this you can say that you have done good CONCENTRATION WORK.
In choosing some concept for CONCENTRATION practice, select one of a concrete object instead of an abstract one, because it is much easier to concentrate on a thing which is perceptible to the other senses as well as to Mind. Also choose a different object each time, in order that you may develop the mental plasticity in keeping with mental strength.
CONCENTRATION is one of the most difficult and important of all mental exercises, because it requires coordinated energy, will power, and perseverance in order to produce effective results.
Those three qualities are seldom found properly balanced in one individual; but as Universal Life Energy is the Fundamental Power back of them, you can bring them into the balanced relation necessary by contacting and using that harmonizing Force. Once they are coordinated and strengthened, CONCENTRATION becomes an easy task which will no longer need complete privacy and special circumstances for its performance. You can then dominate your surroundings instead of being influenced by them, and can focus your thoughts instantaneously at will, under all conditions.