The power of concentration is the ability to focus on a single thing, whether it is a person, an idea, or an object, to the exclusion of all else. This ability is a prerequisite toward advancing the power of your mind to change your reality.
William Walker Atkinson wrote “The Power of Concentration” in 1918 under the pen name of Theron G. Dumont. This book is still available today and extols the power of concentration. In this book, Atkinson discusses why this power is important and how one can go about strengthening one’s own concentration skill.
Atkinson, a former attorney, joined the New Thought Movement and sought the teachings of Hinduism in search of healing from illnesses brought on by his highly stressful life. It is through studying the teachings of other New Thought thinkers and Hindu mystics that Atkinson was able to regain his health.
Concentration is important in changing your life because your mind shapes your reality. In order to effect change, you must change that reality in your mind. This takes concentrated mental power, and without adequate attention, this will be almost impossible to accomplish.
Concentrated thought is probably one of the hardest skills to master. The reasons for this are many, but the largest one is that simply that it is too easy to get distracted by the world around you. You know that this is true because, doubtless, you’ve experienced this for yourself. Maybe you’re reading a book when you hear someone talking in the other room and you turn your head to hear them better, your mind now half on the book and half on the conversation. Or perhaps you are watching television and you lose track of what’s happening on the screen because your mind is racing though all of the happenings of the day.
Some people have better innate concentration than others, but it is possible to train your concentration so that you are not so easily distracted. As with any skill, practice increases your proficiency.
These exercises are meant to be built upon. In other words, start with the first, and practice it until you can concentrate only on the subject of the exercise without allowing yourself to become side tracked. How long it takes for you to “master” an exercise is highly individual and cannot be estimated. The hardest part of training concentration is persevering through the training process without becoming so discouraged that you stop.
Find a book, any book and open it. Point to a paragraph and count the words in that paragraph. Start with a paragraph and as you find it easier to do, move to counting the words on an entire page. Double check your tally to make sure that you have counted the words accurately. Try to count the words using only your eyes. Do not use a finger to point at them as you count.
This one is just as simple as it sounds: start with the number of one hundred and count backwards to the number one.
In this exercise, you will count from one hundred to one, however, you will skip every third number. For example, 100, 97, 94 and on down to the number one.
In this exercise, you will pick a word, preferably one that has positive associations for you, and you will simply repeat the word in your mind over and over again for five minutes, focusing only on that word. Focus on the sound it would make when spoken aloud. Try this for five minutes to start and once it gets easier to block everything else out but this word, do it for ten minutes.
◄The Fruit and Only The Fruit
For this one, grab a fruit, any fruit you might have on hand. It could be a tangerine, an orange, a banana, or even a pomegranate, whatever you might have around the house. Pick up the fruit and examine it from all sides. Take note of how it feels in your hand, its texture, the way it smells, its color and shape. How heavy is it in your hand? Do not think of anything else but that fruit. Do not think about other extraneous things you might associate with the fruit, such as where you bought it, how much it cost, whether it is overripe, etc. Think only of the fruit itself and how it affects your senses. In other words, pay attention only to how it looks, feels, and smells.
◄The Fruit and Only The Fruit Part Two
Just as you did in the previous exercise, this one involves focusing on a fruit. This time, however, you will concentrate on a mental image of the fruit. To begin, go ahead pick up your fruit just as you did in the previous exercise. Examine it from all sides for roughly two minutes and then put it down. Now, close your eyes and try to picture the fruit in your mind. Try to imagine as detailed a picture as you can. If you lose the image, open your eyes and look at the fruit and then try again to imagine it in your mind. It may help you to imagine that you are holding the fruit in your hand.
◄Small and Simple
Find a small every day object of simple design such as a piece of cutlery or a glass. Observe this object from all sides and concentrate on blocking everything out of your mind except for this object. Try not to use any words, even in your mind to refer to the object. Think only of the object.
◄Shapes In Your Mind
At this point, you should be fairly proficient at blocking out extraneous thoughts and concentrating on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. For this exercise, you’ll need to draw a small geometrical shape. This shape can be anything from a triangle to a circle and should measure roughly three inches. Fill it in with any color you like and then focus on it. The only thing in your world is this shape and nothing else exists. Do not use words even in your mind with reference to this shape. Just look at the shape and concentrate on it using all of your attention.
◄Shapes In Your Mind Part Two
This time, you will imagine the shape you drew in your mind with your eyes closed. Picture it in your mind as if you are looking at it on the paper. If you lose the image, open your eyes and look at the shape once more and then close your eyes and try again. Remember to focus on the shape only.
◄Shapes In Your Mind Part Three
Just as in the previous exercise, imagine the shape you drew in your mind, but this time, keep your eyes open. Is it hard to do? It is important to forget the world around you and think of only this shape. If you lose focus, re-center yourself and try again.
◄The Blank Mind
The final exercise is the most difficult one of all to master. In this exercise, you will blank your mind of any and all thoughts. You shouldn’t even be thinking about how you are going to keep your mind blank. Allow no thoughts into your brain at all. Try to keep your mind free of all thought for five minutes. If you can do this, then your powers of concentration are great, indeed.
By practicing the above exercises, you should be able to increase your ability to concentrate. Building your mental powers takes time, just as building your body does. It is only through time and effort that you will develop your concentration ability.
The power of concentration is a skill that is necessary to master before you can fully realize the power of your mind to change your life. While the ability to concentrate on a single thing is very hard to do, training up this skill is quite worth it. Persistence and perseverance will see you to your goal.