In concentration we gather our attention into one place, focusing on a single thing – usually something quite small like a candle flame. Then we try to stay in this state without allowing any thoughts or feelings to distract us. For a while it is difficult because we are used to the mind being noisy, but after a while we find that we can enter a state where the whole being is focused and calm. True concentration does not involve thought, or straining in any way; it is a state of pure poise, relaxed and yet single-pointed. Meditation, conversely, is an expansive state which unfolds spontaneously from within, and is harder to analyse or explain.
Learning to concentrate helps to pave the way for a good meditation, because we have already learned to discipline the mind to some extent. For this reason, it is always best to concentrate for a few minutes before you begin your meditation. In our classes we teach both concentration and meditation techniques.
“When we concentrate, we focus all our energies upon some subject or object in order to unveil its mysteries. When we meditate, we rise from our limited consciousness into a higher consciousness where the vastness of silence reigns supreme.”
– Sri Chinmoy