Friday, May 12, 2017

CONCENTRATION VS CONSTRICTION

Concentration exercises of some kind or the other have a favoured place in the pursuit of self-realization.

I find that all these exercises require a great deal of preparatory training in order to avoid some fundamental pitfalls.

Constriction is man's basic disease. Basically man is constantly on the defensive against the world. His defensive reactions are most often a response to the aggressive designs he himself has against the world. Each one of us has a certain view of what we want from the world, and how the world around us should run. The world rarely collaborates in this: in fact, it tries to protect itself from the attentions of the person concerned. Whenever the world refuses to accept your wishes, and this is so often, you can examine the content of your consciousness, and see its very aggressive and destructive quality. In the so called excellent persons, this hatred of what one does not like may put on internally and externally the crusaders garb. But the body’s response is in this sequence: The world or the other fellow does not fall in line with your desire, however well meaning it might be: this poses a threat: frustration, anger, aggression, remorse, depression - in varying type of cycles result. Whatever the origin, the responses is almost instinctive constriction - mental, muscular and vascular. This constant, unchecked constriction caused by the fundamental hostility of man to his environment is at the base of most of man's chronic diseases, and disabilities that cripple; and of the miserable three score and ten allots to himself.

Expensive polygraphs are not needed to appreciate this process.

Now this constricting reaction has so ingrained itself in behaviour, that as soon as a person sits down to meditate or concentrate, a powerful constrictive reaction sets in. Many even measure the intensity of their meditation by the degree of type tension they experience.

It should be seen that the object of self-realization is to liberate man from the stifling, tight knot into which his ego-isolation has landed him. The aim of all the methods suggested is to loosen up and widen himself to wider and wider awareness of the universe. Concentration is one of the methods. But unfortunately, many look upon concentration as a means of shutting out the world; of reducing inputs, of constricting awareness. This might be a necessary part of the technique, but not the object. This must be remembered.

Concentration that is accompanied by, or that leads to perceptible constriction of one's body, or a perception of intense ‘effort’ should be discarded. It is another of the ego-tricks of self deception, giving a spiritual cloak to its habitual isolation from the world, or infantile grasping reactions.

It should be emphasized that if this care is not taken, concentration exercises can lead to trouble. This is understood, when we know note that no great spiritual leader ever recommended a technique of concentration to any person who has not undergone a lot of preliminary discipline in his relations with the world, without the disciple having become clear in his mind and behaviour with regard to the goals.

Enlarging one’s self in ever widening circles of compassion, joy, harmony and oneness with the world around is the goal of spirituality; and spiritual practice is to train the body to express this all-embracing wideness which is diametrically opposed to the responses of man as he is today. This training or retraining may be aided by many ways - conscious control of behaviour aided by creative imagination for one example.

Concentration is one technique - whose aim is to liberate the awareness to wider, deeper and higher circles of effectivity. Narrowing the awareness is perhaps a phase of the technique, but not its goal.

It can be undertaken with safety by one who has come to a disciplined and relaxed agreement with the world around him by a process of prolonged​ discipline. A person who has not come to terms with the world around him or acquired the simple skills of cooperative and harmonious relations with the ordinary world around, and with his ordinary perceptron and awareness of this world is, very often, fortunately for him, unable to acquire the full capacity for concentration. But if he does, and new levels of awareness descend on him, he has not the skill to handle the material, as his body has not even learnt to deal with the ordinary things around, and damage of some kind is the result.

The safe rule is - not to forget your aim of realising the oneness with the world. If you cannot feel a sense of perfect relaxation when sitting down in concentration, give up the goal of concentration and examine the reasons behind your tension, and take measures to get over the constricting tension and the underlying ego-needs behind it.

This unconscious jargon is bunk. You don't require an analyst's​ couch to know what you are thinking feeling or desiring. To get as much as possible at the cheapest price is one root of trouble. Thus you have not succeeded in the world's market. So you come to the spiritual bazaar - you want to get tremendous powers and experiences and recognition as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Remember the Sufi saying:

'Oh, you, who build a tall house on foundations of sand, tremble while you enter it!’ I should add, ‘if you unfortunately succeed in ever building it! God protect you from your own greed!’ exclamation mark
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