As the thought, so the result. If we can manage our thoughts, we will have a tidy mind, a steady purpose in life, and achieve our goals with ease. In the modern psycho-mumble, this is called delayed gratification. Ability to manage the mind is shown in the heart, in the mental energies, on the objects we set before ourselves and the successes we achieve. It is the opposite for those who fail to plan and fail to take the route of concentration and self-control.
They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to worries, fears, troubles, and self-pityings, all of which are indications of weakness, which lead, just as surely as deliberately planned sins (though by a different route), to failure, unhappiness, and loss, for weakness cannot persist in a power-evolving universe.
Concentration will enable one, whoever he is, whatever the activity he is engaged in, to finish it much better than otherwise. Whether in material assignments, or in ordinary day-to-day work or in spiritual effort, concentration of mental energies is a must, if success is to be achieved. It is the key that can open the treasure-chest of wisdom.
A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object, according to his nature at the time being. But whichever it is, he should steadily focus his thought forces upon the object which he has set before him. He should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself to its attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings, and imaginings. This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting point for future power and triumph.
Those who are not prepared for the apprehension of a great purpose, should fix the thoughts upon the faultless performance of their duty, no matter how insignificant their task may appear. Only in this way can the thoughts be gathered and focused, and resolution and energy be developed, which being done, there is nothing which may not be accomplished.
The weakest soul, knowing its own weakness, and believing this truth – that strength can only be developed by effort and practice, will at once begin to exert itself, and adding effort to effort, patience to patience, and strength to strength, will never cease to develop, and will at last grow divinely strong.
Concentration is essential for all. It is the foundation of all successful endeavour. It is needed not only for meditation, but even for worldly affairs and ordinary living. Whatever be the task one is engaged in, if one does it with concentration, one will develop both self-confidence and self-respect; for they are the result of the attitude of one’s own mind. The mind may lean on either the bad or the good. Concentrated attention must be employed to keep the mind attached only to good promptings. Success or failure in the good task depends upon one-pointedness.
One-pointedness will increase power and skill; it cannot be won without conquering the worldly cravings that distract the mind. This one-pointedness, this conquest of the mind, is acquired by the exercise of concentration.
From this, a person should develop interest in meditation and a taste for meditation. That is to say, a yearning which admits of no other step and which will not tolerate any obstacle. Of course, one may yearn to hear music and derive joy therefrom; or see the bodies of near relatives who have died and derive sorrow therefrom! Yearning may thus have pleasant or even unpleasant consequences! Yearning must have the strength to inspire endeavour; in fact, yearning is but dormant endeavour; endeavour is yearning in action. When yearning is weak, endeavour declines; when one is strong the other too is active. Meditation gives concentration and success in all tasks.
Man must give up the craving for material control and the attachment to sense-objects. He must discard the false fears, the absurd desires, the sorrows, the worries and the artificial pleasures that now fill his mind. That is to say, he must discriminate and train himself to realise that everything is as illusory as the ghost in the well! Every one needs this self-education. The pathetic condition of every man is due to its absence. Meditation and concentration are the remedy for this state of mind.
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