There is considerable confusion about meditation and concentration. They are, however, not quite the same. Achieving a meditative state inwardly can aid in the development of concentration. Certain forms of meditation utilize techniques that lead to concentration. Yet meditation can be calm, relaxed and peaceful without being a concentrated state of awareness that focuses on a single point, which is the definition of concentration. It can be ‘blank’ of ‘content’. Certain forms of meditation let the mind rest quietly in a state of vast general awareness, which is not ‘concentration’. In the stillness that thus arises in the mind, concentration then becomes more possible and more effective, yet it needs to be directed at a single object, whether that is an external object, or an internal one, such as the fire of aspiration that directs the attention solely to the Divine.

One can distinguish the gathered, focused energy of concentration through its intensity and the amplitude of the waves of awareness from the broader waves with lower amplitude of the meditative state. Scientists can measure the difference of waves being generated and have assigned different letters of the Greek alphabet to certain waves that are prevalent in the state of meditation from those that arise in the concentrated state, thus validating from the scientific perspective the differences between the two.

A disciple asks: “I read in the Conversations (1956): ‘Concentration alone will lead you to this goal.’ Should one increase the time of meditation?”

The Mother writes: “Concentration does not mean meditation; on the contrary, concentration is a state one must be in continuously, whatever the outer activity. By concentration I mean that all the energy, all the will, all the aspiration must be turned only towards the Divine and His integral realisation in our consciousness.”

“To keep constantly a concentrated and in-gathered attitude is more important than having fixed hours of meditation.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter IV Growth of Consciousness First Steps and Foundation, pg. 71

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.