It is likely that most people have experienced a state of concentration at some point in their lives, whether it is focusing on a specific project they are involved with, preparing for an examination, or playing some game of sport that involves focus on a consistent basis. Many people report times when they are “in the zone” and without active thought, they nevertheless are concentrated on the effort at hand and experience an unusual state of focused awareness. Various spiritual paths describe detailed forms of visualisation that represent a practice involving and developing concentration. In particular, the Tibetan Buddhist tradition sets forth specific colors, shapes and order for various deities or realised beings to be visualised in order to achieve a state of focus in the mind. Concentration has its role in the practice of Yoga as well.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “Then as to concentration. Ordinarily the consciousness is spread out everywhere, dispersed, running in this or that direction, after this subject and that object in multitude. When anything has to be done of a sustained nature the first thing one does is draw back all this dispersed consciousness and concentrate. It is then, if one looks closely, bound to be concentrated in one place and on one occupation, subject or object — as when you are composing a poem or a botanist is studying a flower. The place is usually somewhere in the brain if it is the thought, in the heart if it is the feeling in which one is concentrated. The yogic concentration is simply an extension and intensification of the same thing. It may be on an object as when one does Tratak on a shining point — then one has to concentrate so that one sees only that point and has no other thought than that. It may be on an idea or a word or a name, the idea of the Divine, the word OM, the name Krishna, or a combination of idea and word or idea and name. But further in yoga one also concentrates in a particular place. There is the famous rule of concentrating between the eyebrows — the centre of the inner mind, of occult vision, of the will is there. What you do is to think firmly from there on whatever you make the object of your concentration or else try to see the image of it from there. If you succeed in this then after a time you feel that your whole consciousness is centred there in that place — of course for the time being. After doing it for some time and often it becomes easy and normal.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 6, Sadhana Through Work, Meditation and Love and Devotion, Meditation and Concentration in the Integral Yoga, pp. 149-153

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at He is author of 16 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.