Transforming Fear to Joy

The Yoga of Self-realization — Concentration

For all students determined to follow a spiritual path toward enlightenment, the first discipline Eknath Easwaran defines as a necessary ingredient is meditation. However, the practice of meditation not only involves such techniques as repeating a mantra but also requires us to slow down and focus on one point. One-pointed concentration is a practice of paying attention in the present moment to only one task or experience, i.e., eating (not eating and watching TV), talking with someone (not answering emails at the same time), reading (without listening to background music), etc.

Unfortunately, one-pointedness has not been a socially-favored behaviour. In fact, we are trained from early childhood to speed up by multi-tasking. In fact, most employers recruit with just those capacities in mind. As a result, our thoughts constantly move from story to story, and we have lost the ability to quiet our mind, slow down the rapid-fire thinking and focus on one thing at a time.

The greater consequence of not being able to concentrate is we are not aware of the present moment. In effect, we obliterate our intuitive ability to hear or see what each passing moment is revealing to us. Furthermore, in the absence of these ‘early-warning’ signals from our inner and outer environments, we inhibit our ability to respond intelligently and without fear to each emerging moment. Simply put, we are not in the flow with life’s unfoldment. Instead, we react from our ego’s conditioned behaviours, which are often based on what we fear rather than on what is true.

IMHO, there is a direct relationship between manic depression and the multi-tasking of our speed-addicted societies. As Prince intuitively penned in 1984 …

It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
‘Cause that’s my fun day
My I don’t have to run day
It’s just another manic Monday

Have to catch an early train
Got to be to work by nine
And if I had an air-o-plane
I still couldn’t make it on time

Blame it on the train
But the boss is already there

Slowing down, in order to first become aware of and second access what Life is offering us, moves us toward effortless living and away from exhaustion, fatigue and depression. To strengthen your concentration and vitality, try the yoga poses and yoga actions below.

1. For the duration of each pose, focus your awareness on one of your major joints–knee, hip, shoulder, elbow. It is not necessary, but you may want to choose a joint that is challenging you in your asana practice.

2. Allow your awareness to rest on your chosen location. Notice what effects in the form of sensations, thoughts, and/or emotions rise up.

SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA (Supine Bound Angle Pose) 3 to 5 minutes
– Bolster can be horizontal or vertical
– Belt around sacrum, over inner groins and inner ankles, and under outer feet

SALAMBA ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Supported Down Dog Pose) 3 to 5 ms
– upper chair back is into upper or mid-thighs not pubic bone
– fingers/hands rest, not weight-bear, on mat

SALAMBA SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA (Supported Wedge Pose) 3 to 5 ms
– Edge of bolster into mid-thoracic spine
– Back of shoulders rest on floor

SAVASANA (Corpse Pose) 5 to 15 ms
– Bolster on upper thighs to ground femurs to floor

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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