Concentrate! You probably heard that when you were a kid. Or you might say it to your own kids. I know I did both. But it wasn’t until I began meditating that I realized how difficult it is, and how important it is.
In fact, concentration is one of the foundations for happiness.
Concentration, or Samadhi, is the composure & unification of the mind, free from desires and discontent. In English, what that means is that if your mind is constantly shifting from memo to Amazon to memo to Snapchat to email to memo, chances are there’s a lot of agitation in the mind. And the agitated mind is not a happy mind.
Think about someone or something that causes you agitation. It might be something small, like traffic, or being given the wrong coffee at your coffee place, or running out of your favorite pens at work, or a meeting you were looking forward to (is there such a thing?) that gets cancelled.
It could also be something bigger, like something rude someone says to you, or your assistant calls in sick and you’re stuck, or a client who doesn’t get discovery back to you on time or is late for an appointment.
And it could be something really big, like losing a motion, getting skewered by a colleague who it seems does mean to harm you, or an associate who quits.
These conditions cause agitation in the mind. I’ll bet you can feel it just by thinking about some of those things. Frustration or anger might arise. I know that’s what happens for me. My breathing gets shallow, and I notice a tightness in the throat and chest.
But it’s not a heart attack. It’s a terrific opportunity for mindfulness practice. And it’s an especially good moment for concentration practice.
Concentration practice helps in these situations because it collects the mind in the present moment. In focusing on the breath, the body, the view out the window, or any stationary object, you notice you’re agitated, and then you can simply allow the agitation to dissipate.
And the beautiful thing is, it will dissipate! It might take one breath, or five breaths, or it might require a walk down the hall. But the agitation will dissipate if you concentrate the mind in the present moment, and investigate the agitation. Soon, you’ll see that it’s gone.