Children, if we want to succeed—be it in spiritual or material life—we must develop the ability to concentrate. Concentration is the ability to withdraw the mind from its aimless wanderings and make it focus on your goal. Concentration lends perfection to any action.
Many ask how they can develop their power of concentration. When a thief is trying to rob a house at night, his every action has one-pointed focus. He will be extremely cautious and aware while casing the house, walking around the house, breaking into it, entering it and opening the cupboards. He is ever aware of the fact that, if he is caught red-handed, he will be behind bars. So, he will try his best to avoid any unnecessary movement. We should develop similar focus, but of course our goal should be noble.
It is very difficult to bring a wavering and fickle mind under control. It is relatively easier to observe and assess the changes in the outer world than it is to observe them in our mind.
Once, a travelling sannyasi arrived at a temple. A few children were arguing. The subject of their argument was the flag on the temple flagpole.
One group argued, “The flag is swaying.”
“No, it’s the wind that is swaying,” argued the other group.
Both groups continued arguing, dissecting the points of the other group with reasoning. The sannyasi listened to the arguments for a while and then revealed his opinion. “If you observe carefully, you will understand something: It is neither the flag nor the wind but your minds that are swaying.”
Concentration can be attained only through constant effort. When the mind deviates, we should keep bringing it back to our intended place of focus. When we dam water flowing from many branches and force it to flow only in one direction, we can even generate electricity. If there are many holes in a garden hose, the force of the water coming out of it will be weak. Similarly, if our mind is always chasing after various objects, its power will be weak and a successful life will remain nothing but a fairytale.
Currently, a good portion of our mental power is being wasted flowing towards the outer world through our five senses. If we can block this, we will definitely be able to awaken the limitless power within us and attain our life’s goal.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi