Distraction is draining; concentration is energizing
When we practice meditation and strive to focus our mind on higher spiritual reality, the struggle to concentrate can be disheartening.
But we don’t have to become disheartened; we can see the struggle more positively – though initially demanding, it is eventually fulfilling. The Bhagavad-gita (06.26) reflects such optimism: It acknowledges the mind’s distractibility, but still encourages us to focus on spiritual reality. And the next verse (06.27) assures that such diligent practice will cleanse the mind, making it peaceful and joyful.
If we practice determinedly, meditation will gradually become enlivening, especially when we meditate on the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna. Such devotional meditation comprises an inexhaustible inner energy source that will energize us throughout the day.
Even if we don’t succeed in concentrating during meditation, the sincere attempt to concentrate will foster within us the healthy habit of becoming self-aware. The resulting enhanced alertness will help us in other aspects of our life too – whenever we become distracted, we will recognize faster that we have become distracted and will more quickly reorient ourselves.
Of course, as compared to the effort needed to concentrate, we may feel that going along with the mind is so easy. But that ease will soon end in exasperation. If we go through the motions of meditation without striving to concentrate internally, we will feel irritated that our time has been wasted. And because we have let the mind run wild during meditation, it will acquire a strong momentum that will distract us from other things that need to be done. Thus, even without having done anything substantial, we will end up feeling drained by the mind’s relentless running around.
Instead, if we strive diligently to concentrate during meditation, our mind will gradually become calmer and clearer, thereby helping us make our whole life more purposeful, productive and fulfilling.
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