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Attention and concentration
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
2 min
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Question: Sir, can I be in attention even when mindis distracted? Does attention also depend on whether I am loving the thing that I am doing or not?

Answer: Prashant,

Attention is a quality of the mind. Attention is the deep desire of the mind to understand. Understanding means settling down, becoming quiet.

Attention arises when the mind says that the ripples created by objects in mind must settle down. These objects could be:

  1. a TV program2. two people and their chatter3. the disquiet of the mind itself

However, remember that there is a difference between attention and concentration. In attention, there is no specific object. Attention is the quality of the mind in which it is alert to everything, including itself. Hence, whatever is in its purview its its object. Alternately, there is no (specific) object. Alternately, the mind itself is its own object.

In concentration, there is a process of ego-based choice involved. Concentration is fragmentary. Concentration is upon a specific object that the ego has chosen for its benefit. Concentration does not give understanding, it only gives pleasure and satisfaction.

Question 2: Concentration does not give understanding, it only gives pleasure and satisfaction.

Question a : Can I say that understanding does not result in any feeling (of say pleasure or satisfaction)? Its just understanding?Question b: In other words, can I say that if I am left with satisfaction then I was concentrating rather than being attentive/meditative?

Answer: Amit,

1.Understanding results in a cessation of tension. That is the only ‘feeling’ it gives.

  1. Yes, satisfaction is always motive-driven. If there is satisfaction, there is bound to be the (apparent) fulfillment of some desire.

– Based on Question and Answer sessions with me on various e-forums.

Dated: 19th May,’14

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