Are we training our mind in distraction or in concentration?
We all have noticed times when we get distracted, sometimes from important things. If only we could concentrate more, we could do so many things better.
Yet we unwittingly do the opposite: we train our mind in distraction. How? By letting ourselves get distracted when it is in our power to concentrate. Suppose we are working on our computer and get the thought of checking our social media. If we let our mind get distracted, we create a corresponding impression on our mind.
Our mind’s impressions determine its future actions. Each time we give in to a distraction, it makes our mind that much more prone to future distraction. Over time, these impressions will impel our mind to become distracted far more frequently and forcefully. When we appreciate that each incident of distraction makes similar future incidents much more probable, we will understand that even distractions which seem casual are not so casual. Alerted by that understanding, we can strive wholeheartedly to concentrate whenever we can, as much as we can. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (03.26) urges us to refocus our mind whenever it wanders.
What if we feel disheartened, fearing that we have already trained our mind in distraction for too long? Thankfully, the mind is always trainable; its impressions are changeable. Each time we concentrate by resisting distraction as much as we can, or at least by returning from distraction as quickly as we can, we train our mind in concentration.
One powerful way to train our mind is meditation. By investing time in regular meditation and by paying attention to where our attention is going, we all can improve our capacity for concentration.
Each time we let ourselves get distracted, we train our mind in distraction; each time we strive to concentrate, we train our mind in concentration.
Think it over:
- How do we unwittingly train our mind in distraction?
- How can we train our mind in concentration?
- Consider some area where you let yourself get distracted — what can you do to change that situation?
06.26: From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.