Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Meditation and the Mastery of Attention

I have several daily practices that I attend to in order to keep myself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally healthy. One of those daily practices is meditation. Dhyana or deep meditation is the seventh limb of yoga. What we call yoga here in America is actually ASANAS - the third limb of yoga.

While I practice all of the limbs of yoga, Meditation is the subject for today.  Meditation typically requires a focus for your attention. Your focus may be, amongst others, your breath, a sound such as a mantra, or a candle flame.

Mastery of attention, or Dharana, is the sixth limb of yoga. Dharana translates as immovable concentration of the mind and it involves training the mind to focus on one point or image. This one-pointedness is essential to meditation. Dharana should be effortless and not forced.

When I tell people that I teach meditation, many people say that they can't meditate because they can't stop thinking. It is the nature of the brain to think therefore, it is impossible to stop thinking. We actually average about 12,000 thought per day. Most of our thoughts are on the past or the future.

In meditation, we use our focus to "re-direct" the mind to be present with our focus. In my daily morning meditation, I use my breath and a mantra as a focus for my attention. When I find my mind wandering, I bring my attention back to the mantra.  

The mastery of attention takes practice and is rarely "perfected" as it is a practice. However, with the practice of Dharana, the mastery of attention, we will begin to experience Dhyana, deep meditation and the development of witnessing awareness wherein we forget the body and the world.

The results are reduced stress and improved physical and mental health. I am a certified S.E.E.D. (Simple Easy Every Day) meditation instructor and would love to teach you how to meditate. My teacher is Sarah McLean. Check out her website here:


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