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We Wish You all a Happy and Safe Holi              March 2020 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:March' 2020

ART OF LIVING

Concentration through Samadhi

Rajesh Bhola

The body is the source of all our suffering and so the body must be overcome. Overcoming the body means going against what the body seems to want – asserting mind over matter. We all meet suffering in one form or another. We feel a great urge to remove ourselves from the painful spectacles of life.
Samadhi has great spiritual power. Samadhi means concentration or rapture and refers to the vision of the purpose of life. Many troubles crowd our lives. But all these can be transformed into opportunities for spiritual growth. This vision is the Samadhi. The basic meaning of the term Samadhi is concentration, but to say that the Samadhi is concentration is a bit like saying that the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is splash of colors: true, but not revealing the quality that matters; the ambiguity of the subject's expression, which is frequently described as enigmatic, the monumentality of the composition, the subtle modeling of forms and the atmospheric illusionism, the novel qualities that have contributed to the continuing fascination and study of the work called Mon Lisa. The rapture, which a Samadhi can throw us in, can also be enigmatic; such transformative on-going visionary experiences through Samadhi can get us at the doors of enlightenment; the enlightenment which changes what a person sees and experiences. It is a genuine spiritual experience. The real measure of such an event is not the experience itself but in the effect it has upon the life of the person.

Samadhi is defined as the centering of the mind and mental factors rightly and evenly on an object. Samadhi, as wholesome concentration, collects together the ordinarily dispersed and dissipated stream of mental states to induce an inner unification. The two salient features of a concentrated mind are unbroken attentiveness to an object and the consequent tranquility of the mental functions, qualities which distinguish it from the un-concentrated mind.

The mind untrained in concentration moves in a scattered manner which is compared to the flapping about of a fish taken from the water and thrown onto dry land. It cannot stay fixed but rushes from idea to idea, from thought to thought, without inner control. Such a distracted mind is also a deluded mind. Overwhelmed by worries and concerns, a constant prey to the defilements, it sees things only in fragments, distorted by the ripples of random thoughts.

But the mind that has been trained in concentration, in contrast, can remain focused on its object without distraction. This freedom from distraction further induces a softness and serenity which make the mind an effective instrument for penetration. Like a lake unruffled by any breeze, the concentrated mind is a faithful reflector that mirrors whatever is placed before it exactly as it is.

Mental distraction caused by restlessness and scattered thoughts is a common problem faced by persons of all different character types; thus a person of any temperament in Samadhi can benefit from a subject which promotes a slowing down and stilling of the thought process.

Concentration arises by fixing the mind upon a single object to the exclusion of other objects. But apart from these there is another kind of concentration which does not depend upon restricting the range of awareness. This is called momentary concentration. To develop momentary concentration the person in Samadhi does not deliberately attempt to exclude the multiplicity of phenomena from his field of attention. Instead, he simply directs mindfulness to the changing states of mind and body, noting any phenomenon that presents itself; the task is to maintain a continuous awareness of whatever enters the range of perception, clinging to nothing. As he goes on with his noting, concentration becomes stronger moment after moment until it becomes established one-pointedly on the constantly changing stream of events. Despite the change in the object, the mental unification remains steady, and in time acquires a force capable of suppressing the hindrances to a degree equal to that of access concentration. This fluid, mobile concentration is developed by the practice taken up along the insight; when sufficiently strong it issues in the breakthrough to the last stage, the arising of wisdom.

Samadhi takes us to a level where our heads would not be full of either arrogance or self depreciation. Our thoughts, speech and action would all flow together in a constructive way to create a positive lifestyle. This in itself brings a major degree of peace of mind. This mental cultivation takes us into the condition of mind which is called Samadhi; a mind which naturally finds the bliss in all the eventualities of everyday life and so enables us to fulfill our purpose in being alive.